Sex offender registries may not be accurate

By: Gene Petriello Email
By: Gene Petriello Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, August 30, 2007

AIKEN, S.C.---You check the sex offender registry hoping to find the kind of information you need to keep your kids safe. But, News 12 has found some startling news.

On Wednesday, we randomly selected 4 registered sex offenders all from Aiken. Turns out 3 of the 4 have addresses listed that are not where they actually live. One of them doesn't even live in the state anymore.

Robert Armstrong is a registered sex offender in South Carolina. On Wednesday, his address was listed as 724 Cherry Drive in Aiken. But neighbors told us he moved. And today, his address is gone.

Lt. Michael Frank tells News 12 Armstrong has been tracing to Ohio where police are looking for him. That's making some people wonder.

"Wonder what kind of steps to take or how to protect yourself."

Not just herself, but her two children. One 2 and a half, another 15. She lived near Chad Black. Another registered offender from Aiken. We went to check on him and found this... no house between 2881 and 2410 Banks Mill Road.

All that is there are woods. Black is currently in jail.

"The fact that he gave a false address really is a mute point right now," Lt. Frank says.

But that's not a mute point to neighbors.

"That's still scary. You have to constantly look behind your back, wondering who is besides you. Are you ok?"

We also tracked down Ellis Birt who supposedly lived at 569 Laurens Street. Right down the road from a Boys and Girls Club.

Shawn Risher deals with about 90 kids everyday after school. He uses the sex offender website every week.

"We hope it's accurate as possible."

Sometimes, it's not. Ellis is now registered at 610 D Greenville Street in Aiken.

Lt. Frank admits the sex offender registry is not a perfect system. And parents should know where their kids are.

He adds -- starting immediately -- when sex offenders give their address, they must show some document for their file that shows they love where they say.

That's something which was not required in the past. If they don't register correctly, a judge issues an arrest warrant and the offender is sent to jail.


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