The Disturbing New Way NJ’s Sex Offenders are Thwarting Megan’s Law [AUDIO]
A new report finds our kids may not be as safe as we think they are.
A study conducted by Utica College and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice finds almost one in every six convicted sex offenders is using techniques invented by identity thieves to avoid Megan's Law registration requirements- like phony names, social security numbers and birthdays - to fly under the radar.
Staca Shehan, the Director of Case Analysis at the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, says the study confirms what they've suspected for quite a while.
"There are sex offenders who are intentionally avoiding registration requirements by altering their identity…And other sex offenders are moving and failing to notify law enforcement of their new location - they may or may not be using a false identity, but at the end of the day it confirms what we knew - that offenders do attempt to avoid registration requirements."
She says these offenders may be doing this because they just don't want to be bothered having authorities keep track of their locations, but it could also be "much more intentional and menacing in terms of avoiding registration requirements could allow them to be in a situation where they had easier access to children."
Shehan says while federal legislation attempts to crack down on sex offenders moving from state to state and not registering, all mothers and fathers need to "talk to children in an age appropriate way that they feel comfortable with about what they need to do in their area to maintain their level of safety…We have multiple safety publications that are available on our website - it's www.missingkids.com - that parents can utilize -to then read and become more knowledgeable and then access the age appropriateness of certain information for their children…Parents are having conversations with children all the time about safety, and they can incorporate these messages related to people that are unknown to them."
She adds the study results are very concerning.
"It is important for law enforcement and the public to be aware of sex offenders, and that was the intent of registration requirements…It's vitally important to improve the system so that not only people living in the community, but law enforcement can be more involved in tracking these individuals and be aware of where they are, where they're living…We're always looking out for the safety of children. We're also here as a resource to law enforcement - as law enforcement has been requesting our assistance to help them track down sex offenders - we created a sex offender tracking team that leverages analytical resources to support law enforcement because unfortunately there's not enough law enforcement out there to be able to check on every single sex offender every single day."