Sex offender registry published online

Registered sex offenders are now listed on the Moffat County Sheriff's Office Web site.

The page -- which came online late last month -- lists eight people, all men, who have been convicted of a sex crime and live within the sheriff's jurisdiction.

Of the eight men, seven live near Craig. One lives in Dinosaur.

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said the police department will have the city's registered sex offenders listed on its Web site soon.

According to the registered sex offender list available at the police department, there are 22 registered sex offenders in Craig.

Convicted sex offenders are required by law to register with local law enforcement officials every 90 days.

The sheriff's sex offender Web page, www.moffatcountysheriff.com/sexoffenders.htm, lists the offender's name, date of birth, crime and address.

Clicking on the address links to a map showing the location of the offender's home.

The page also includes links to the state and national sex offender registries.

To enter the page, citizens must click an agreement saying they will not use the information "to inflict retribution or additional punishment" on any of the sex offenders.

Sgt. K.C. Hume, chief investigator with the sheriff's office, said a bill signed into law in May paved the way for the Web site. "We wanted to do this a few years ago," Hume said, but the law guiding how law enforcement agencies notify the public about registered sex offenders wasn't clear.

Hume said the sheriff's office knew it was allowed to provide the information to the public, but weren't sure if it could be placed online.

The bill, House Bill 05-1035, specifically says local law enforcement agencies may place the information on a Web site.

Rio Blanco and Routt counties do not have sex offender Web pages, but Hume said he expects most counties to take advantage of the ability to post offenders online.

Sheriff Buddy Grinstead said the Web site makes educating the public easier.

"This is a great tool for us," Grinstead said.

In the past, citizens had to come to the sheriff's office and ask for a list of the county's registered sex offenders.

The list costs $5.75, which includes a $5 administrative fee and a 25-cent printing fee for each page.

Becky Otis, records clerk for the Craig Police Department, said the paper list will probably be obsolete once police put the information online.

Otis said more people pick up the list when sex offender cases are in the news.

"I tell people it's not the people on this list they need to worry about," she said.

Otis said the sex offenders that people should be concerned about are the ones who fail to register.

Registering with law enforcement is the offender's responsibility.

Sgt. Hume said sex offenders can move into an area without registering, and law enforcement officials probably wouldn't know unless they were arrested for another crime. "I'd like to think we have all the registered sex offenders registered," Hume said. "But that may not be the case because of the way the registration process works."

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031 or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com

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