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Sweep updates E.L. sex offender information

October 21, 2010

There are 900 registered sex offenders in Ingham County. And police don’t know where 31 of them are.

These are the results of recent sex offender sweeps through the tri-county area of Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties.

The sweeps target registered sex offenders to ensure they have not given false information and are keeping up with the fines and paperwork associated with their sentence.

Many of the registered sex offenders do not pose a serious problem. Ingham County has a 93 percent compliance rate. From the 62 noncompliant offenders, 31 either have failed to pay a fee or keep their paperwork up to date, and 31 did not update the police when they changed their residency, or absconded.

The state of Michigan has a 92.5 percent compliance rate amongst its sex offenders.

Officers from multiple agencies joined together to perform the sweeps. There are various types of sweeps done throughout the year. On Tuesday, police performed a sweep called “Operation Verify.”

The sweep targets registered sex offenders who failed to verify their address in the first 15 days of October.

“If they didn’t check in with law enforcement, we’ll go in and target those offenders if they forgot, or ended up in jail, moved and didn’t change their address or decided not to comply,” Michigan State Police trooper Tim Burchell said.

Last year the State Police performed a random residence check for all registered sex offenders in the area.
Those who do not comply can be charged with anything from a simple misdemeanor to a four-year felony charge.

If a registered sex offender does not appear to be living at the listed address, police will continue looking for them, employing the help of the U.S. Marshal if the offender has left the area or the state, Deputy U.S. Marshal Joe Guzman said.

“We have a nationwide network of investigators more capable of handling them,” Guzman said. “Some are very difficult to locate. Some take years to locate.”

Burchell said police do not know the location of fewer than one percent of offenders in the local area.

“People can hide if they want to,” Burchell said. “It’s not always easy to find people, especially if they cross state lines and change their names. Usually we end up finding them, it just might take a while.”

Of the 21 registered sex offenders in East Lansing, 20 are compliant and 19 are on a 25-year sentence, which corresponds to a less serious crime, such as indecent exposure.

One resident is on a life sentence, usually assigned to sex offenders who have committed a more serious crime, such as rape or sexual assault, and one has a sentence period of less than 25 years.

East Lansing police Capt. Kim Johnson said the East Lansing Police Department has an officer to keep track of registered sex offenders in the area.

“The sex offenders, it’s not a big problem,” Johnson said. “We do not have a lot who live here in our city.”

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