By Melissa Martin
Repulsive crimes and the whereabouts of specific criminals must be kept in the forefront in order to protect children and adults. That’s the purpose of the registry of sexual offenders.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office maintains the Electronic Sex Offender Registration and Notification (E-SORN) registry of published sexual offenders residing in Ohio.
Local sheriff’s offices are responsible for registering the offenders into a main database via the Internet. The public can view all registered offenders. However, for certain sex offenders, community notification is not required. www.sciotocountysheriff.com/SexOffenderRegistration.html.
Ohio Revised Code section 2950.01 classifies sexual offenders into three major classifications: Sexual Predator, Habitual Sex Offender, and Sexual Oriented Offender.
Senate Bill 10, passed in 2007, implemented the federal Adam Walsh Act in Ohio and classified sex offenders into three tiers based on the committed offense.
Tier I: Offenses including gross sexual imposition, importuning, voyeurism, child enticement and some child pornography charges. Must register annually for 15 years.
Tier II: Offenses including unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, compelling prostitution, kidnapping and abduction with sexual motivation. Must register semi-annually for 25 years.
Tier III: Offenses including rape, aggravated rape and murder with sexual motivation. Must register every 90 days for life.
I explored the Scioto County website for sex offender information and found the age, date of birth, sex, race, height, weight, eye and hair color, and tattoo descriptions listed along with a photograph. Home address, work address, and make/model/year of any vehicles are listed for some, but not for all. A description of the crime, date convicted, conviction state, and release date are listed.
The following are some of the crimes listed for sex offenders in Scioto County: Rape, Gross Sexual Imposition Sexual Motivation, Sexual abuse in the third degree, Habitual Sex Offender With Notification, Compelling Prostitution, Pandering Obscenity Involving a Minor Sexual Motivation, and Importuning Sexual Motivation.
In reference to victim information, the juvenile names are not revealed, and the gender and age may or may not be listed.
What if a sex offender lives in your neighborhood?
Start by learning the facts and the accurate information about the person. “If there is community notification meeting, go to learn more about this person, their risk level, and how they will be supervised in the community…Learn about the restrictions that have been placed on this person so that if you see them doing something inappropriate you know how to report it to police…You should be able to get the name and telephone number of the probation or parole officer.” www.stopitnow.org/.
The Scioto County Sheriff’s website offers the following advice: “Children are particularly vulnerable to sex offenders. Open communication between parents and children is vital to family safety. If a picture is available from the local law enforcement’s website, show it to your family. In general terms, tell your children that this person has hurt someone before. Explain to them that they should stay away from this individual. Avoid scary details. The purpose behind community notification is to reduce the chance of future victimization by better informing the public.”
Adults must make sure the places where children and adolescents spend time are safe. Unsupervised kids are targets for child molesters and pedophiles. Teaching safety tips to children (without causing alarm and anxiety) is imperative as well.
Is it true that 90 percent of abused children know their abuser?
Yes, and according to the Darkness to Light sexual abuse prevention organization, “Research shows that the greatest risk to children doesn’t come from strangers, but from friends and family. People who abuse children look and act just like everyone else. In fact, they often go out of their way to appear trustworthy, seeking out settings where they can gain easy access to children, such as sports leagues, faith centers, clubs, and schools.”
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. www.nctsn.org/resources/public-awareness/national-child-abuse-prevention-month.
Sexual violence prevention needs to be ongoing in Scioto County.
Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, therapist and behavioral health consultant. She resides in Scioto County. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.