Seven percent of 3,534 registered sex offenders in Alaska aren't in compliance

Published: Oct. 2, 2018 at 3:18 PM AKDT
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Tuesday afternoon there were 3,534 registered sex offenders in Alaska. Out of that number 251 were not in compliance. And, in that group, 75 are marked as "Unknown," meaning the Department of Public Safety is not sure where the offender lives.

"Essentially the department has reason to believe that they are not at the address they last gave us," Jonathan Taylor, communications director for the Department of Public Safety, said "and so we'll obviously, as we do those sweeps, we try to locate those individuals and bring them into compliance."

But, the number of unregistered sex offenders could be higher because of two issues. The first loophole doesn't require sex offenders from other states to register as a sex offender in Alaska. The second issue comes from an Alaska Supreme Court decision that ruled that quarterly registration applies only to people who committed their crimes after January 1, 1999.

Gov. Bill Walker recently talked about legislation to deal with the first issue.

"For example: You live in Oregon, you're convicted of a sex offense that requires registration in Oregon, if we don't necessarily have a similar offense here in the state of Alaska you might not be required to register," Taylor said. "That's a loophole that we'd like to close."

In Alaska, crimes involving bestiality do not require sex offender registration, Taylor said.

Channel 2 went to two addresses on the sex offender registry to see why the people aren't in compliance.

One address listed was Bean's Cafe. No one answered the door at the second home.

Homelessness, as well as incorrect email addresses and not submitting social media account information, are some of the reasons someone might be listed as not compliant.

"I think that for a lot of individuals there's sort of an incentive for them to be in compliance," Taylor said, "whether they'd be individuals that are legitimately trying to put their lives back together, to be reformed, to reintegrate back into society. I think for those individuals in particular, they have a very strong incentive to be in compliance."

Assistant Attorney General Jenna Gruenstein with Alaska's Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals says it is up to the sex offender to submit their information.

"Generally sex offenders who've been convicted, they're required to update their work, their current employment as well their current address," Gruenstein said.

Taylor says DPS, along with other law enforcement agencies, will sometimes do "sweeps" to see if sex offenders are in compliance.