Carroll initiative targets child sex offenders

Authorities seek to verify addresses of 81 on list

February 24, 2005|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Maryland State Police and other Carroll County law enforcement agencies are verifying the whereabouts of 81 child sex offenders living in the county who are required to register and keep their addresses current, authorities said.

The initiative began last week and immediately located 65 of the 81 offenders at their current addresses, said Sgt. Douglas W. Reitz of the Westminster barracks' criminal investigation section.

He oversees county offenders on the registry, which is operated by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

"Some of them weren't home," he said of the listed offenders.

Failing to register or to notify the registry of a change of address, or filing false information are misdemeanors punishable by up to three years' imprisonment and a $5,000 fine, he said. Six warrants have been issued so far.

"It's worked very well," said Lt. Dean Richardson, the Westminster barracks commander. "It emphasizes that these people have got to register and keep their information updated."

The operation included state troopers, county sheriff's deputies, Westminster city police officers and members of the Carroll County Advocacy and Investigation Center, formerly known as CASA, Reitz said. For the first time, the team also included parole and probation agents.

These agents might know of conditions placed upon the offender that the police don't, such as a prohibition on drinking alcohol, Reitz said, as happened in one visit.

Most of those on the list have been calling in as required to their parole and probation agents, Reitz said, "but we want to go out and see that they're physically there. Ideally, we want to do this about two times a year. "

The sex-offender registry is available on the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services' Web site, and those who must register are to notify officials within seven days of changing their address. He said Carroll has no sex offenders who are considered to be violent.

"We want the public to know who these guys are," said Reitz, adding that police rely upon the public to help keep track of the offenders. "A lot of times we just get calls on these guys, say from someone who's cruising the Internet and sees someone who lives down the street [listed] who he knows is gone -- and lets us know."

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