One out of five sex offenders living in Jackson County are on the lam, having failed to register with authorities as required by law. Thats according to a statewide audit released Monday.
What that means is they could be your neighbor and you will never know it.
Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway found local law enforcement across the state has “not adequately pursued” sex offenders who are out of compliance with reporting requirements. As a result, 1,259 sex offenders in Missouri — 7.9 percent of the 16,000 required to register — are missing.
Jackson County, with 439 out of 2,125 convicts out of compliance, is responsible for more than one third of those missing across the state. Nearly 14 percent of offenders in Cass County are non-compliant. In Platte County, the figure is 10 percent, and in Clay County, just 2.2 percent of offenders are out of compliance reports the Kansas City Star.
The audit found law enforcement agencies’ enforcement of reporting requirements inadequate.
“Our review determined many non-compliant sex offenders have been non-compliant for several years without adequate enforcement actions being taken by local law enforcement officials,” the audit says. “Of the 1,259 sex offenders identified as non-compliant, 678 offenders … have exceeded their scheduled registration dates by more than a year.”
In a statement, Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte said the office has been actively monitoring and investigating registrations and violations for the past five months.
“I was appalled at the lack of urgency the sheriff’s office had taken regarding sex offender registration,” said Forte, who was named interim sheriff in May. “We will continue to allocate resources to keep our community safe. I assure the community that we will continue to aggressively enforce the protection of the vulnerable and the innocent from predators.”
The audit evaluated the registry as it was reported in February and May 2018, before and immediately after Forte’s appointment.
At least 794 of the missing sex convicts statewide are “Tier III” offenders, meaning they committed severe sex crimes, such as rape, sodomy, child molestation, sex trafficking, incest or the “use or promotion of a child in a sexual performance.”
“They could be your next-door neighbor,” Forte said at the time. “They could be at the playground where your grandkids and kids play on a regular basis. We don’t know where they are.”