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BEATING THE PROVERBIAL DEAD HORSE:
Addressing the 100,000 Missing Sex Offenders myth once and for all
Derek W. Logue
August 7, 2011, edited August 8, 2011

INTRODUCTION

One of the most prevailing myths driving tougher sex offender legislation is the 100,000 missing sex offender myth.
This article addresses the history of the myth, questions the accuracy of the myth, and explains what it really means
to be “non-compliant.” This article also summarizes the few studies on this myth and determines the number of
registrants who are truly “non-compliant.

ORIGIN OF THE 100,000 MISSING SEX OFFENDER MYTH

The perennial news and researcher eAdvocate accurately pinpointed the origin of the missing sex offender myth
back in 2006 [
1]. The group “Parents for Megan’s Law” (PFML) was credited in the national media back in February
2003 with determining there are over 100,000 missing sex offenders. In fact, the current PFML website still boasts of
being the origin of the statistic:

Further, a 2003 registration survey conducted by Parents for Megan’s Law found that nearly 25% of the nations’
registered sex offenders were not complying with state registration requirements. This meant, that over 100,000 sex
offenders were ‘missing’ from registries across the country. When citing this statistic, refer to parentsformeganslaw.
org
.” [2]

The eAdvocate site pointed out the following facts about the PFML survey:

  • Though all 50 states were contacted, only 32 responded; 18 states and the District of Columbia did not
    respond;
  • Of the 32 states who responded, it was estimated 24% of those who are supposed to be registered could not
    be accounted for;
  • The states who responded never audited their registries and thus only rough estimates were given, so there
    are questions how PFML estimated 77,000 were missing from those states;
  • Nineteen states gave no estimates or response to PFML; it was merely noted “thousands of the 133,705
    offenders in this group may have disappeared.” [3]

It still does not really explain how they ultimately settled on 24%, and because there were an estimated 425,000
registered sex offenders in early 2003, that number came out to 100,000. Since 2003, the 100,000 missing sex
offender myth is often quoted (and pretty much unchanged), such as in the February 2011 hearing for the
Reauthorization of the controversial Adam Walsh Act [
4].

The latest article by Levenson and Harris adds more doubts to the validity of the PFML report. This article confirms
the similar problem run into when Once Fallen contacted PFML by phone in 2008 to address their study, namely,
that PFML has never released how they came to that conclusion and never responds to inquiries into this study [5].
Second, the article also points out the significance of the era in which the study was made, a fact also noted by
eAdvocate; at the time, states have not yet audited their registries. While Megan’s Law was passed in 1996, the
survey was actually conducted before the Smith v. Doe decision, and as illustrated by the more recent controversy
over states and Adam Walsh Act compliance, each new law has a “growing pains” period. For example, Connecticut
had temporarily removed the public sex offender registry in 2001 [
6], and Hawaii’s registry was offline between 2001
and 2004 [
7]. As noted by Harris and Levenson:

The fallacy, however, might be that the problem of ‘missing’ sex offenders was more a reflection of failures in the
operation and administration of the registries than of noncompliance by individual RSOs. In other words, challenges
related to record keeping, personnel demands, and data management during the formative years of sex offender
registration laws were likely conflated with the issue of offender noncompliance
.” [8]

I have to clarify this issue even further. Depending on the account, the 100,000 number has been used to represent
the number of sex offenders in the United States who are “missing,” “non-compliant,” “fugitive,” “evading authorities,”
or “absconded.” Not everyone sees the words as interchangeable. Non-compliance does not necessarily mean
literally "missing." My opinion is absconded registrants, that is, people who intentionally failed to register and whose
whereabouts unknown are "missing." However, since the 100,000 number is used to describe not just "missing" sex
offenders but are often used interchangeably with terms like "non-compliant" or "evading authorities," this ever
inclusive criteria must be addressed.

WHAT EXACTLY IS “NON-COMPLIANCE?”

Ever since the US Marshals were given jurisdiction in assisting state and local authorities in sex offender
compliance, the number of so-called “compliance checks” have increased dramatically. The US Marshals claim in
2010, they “Apprehended 11,072 sex offenders, initiated 3,025 investigations, issued 426 warrants for registration
violations and arrested 360 people for other violations of the Adam Walsh Act… Since January 2009, the Marshals
have conducted 317 sex offender-specific operations, involving 7,700 state and local law enforcement personnel
from 1,442 state and local agencies. In FY 2010, the Marshals conducted 173 such operations.” [
9] The US
Marshals do not specify what they mean by “non-compliant, unregistered fugitive sex offenders.” Even the number
of apprehensions could mean anything, since they only mention issuing 426 warrants for registry violations and 360
arrests for “other AWA violations.”

Media accounts and press releases of sweeps have offered little clarity regarding what constitutes non-compliance.
In one compliance check in Oregon, the article claims 28 out of 123 registered sex offenders were found to be out of
compliance:

"
Of the 28 offenders listed as out of compliance, one person was located and issued a citation to appear in lieu of
custody.  The remaining 27 out of compliance offenders are currently being investigated for charges relating to
failing to register as a sex offender. Fifteen offenders’ addresses were not verified for various reasons and two
offenders were found to be deceased
.” [10]

Two “non-compliant” registrants could not register because they were suffering from the common condition called
“death.” Fifteen registrants were not verified for “various reasons.” I wonder what that means. Could it simply mean
the registrant was not home at the time? Could it be possible that the Sheriff’s Office mistyped an address or has
not updated the address (yes it is possible)? It is unclear.

Arrests for “non-compliance” can involve more than addresses:

Making contact with the offender, officers, deputies and agents checked addresses, telephone numbers, vehicle
registrations; they checked their living environment, inside and out, to see if they’re complying with the terms of their
probation, which could include the presence of children, computer(s), drugs and weapons
.” [11]

The San Diego County CA sweep also added arrests for prohibited items in its arrest reports:

"
Besides the 61 individuals now under investigation, an additional 14 were arrested for various probation and parole
violations -- and one was taken into custody for a suspected homicide, he said. The searches also turned up
pornography, marijuana and drug paraphernalia -- along with normally legal items many sex offenders aren't allowed
to possess, like laptop computers, digital media, smart phones, alcohol and children's clothing and toys
." [12]

Michigan includes in its definition of non-compliance, registrants who have not paid registry fees or messed up
complex paperwork [
13].

In another article, the Adam Walsh Act is used to compel previously exempt former offenders to re-register:

The sheriff’s office will initiate criminal investigations against any offender who is found not to be in compliance.
Deputies will also notify formerly exempt offenders of their renewed duty to register and provide them with a copy of
the U.S. Marshals Service Notice of Duty to Register as a Sex Offender
[14].”  However, any courts have ruled
against the retroactive application of the Adam Walsh Act after arrests by US Marshals [15].

In short, there is no set definition of “non-compliance.” Statistics for non-compliance can include having prohibited
items, retroactivity clauses, not being able to pay fees, information snafus, arrests for non-related offenses, or even
being dead according to various reports.

LOGUE/ ONCE FALLEN SURVEY OF COMPLIANCE CHECKS

Listed below are reports of separate compliance checks across the country. Every effort has been made to be
comprehensive. However, each compliance check offers different results depending on why the individual was
arrested. Here, attempts to limit the numbers to those actually non-compliant as opposed to arrests for other parole
violations or non-sex crime arrests such as drug possession have been made. Some locations may overlap but
represent separate operations and different dates. These reports were found via the Google search engine using
the terms “sex offender compliance sweeps.” With the exception of one study (in October 2007), all compliance
checks listed in the Once Fallen survey were conducted between 2009 and 2011.

Table 1: Once Fallen Survey Results



















































The non-compliance rate of 6.4% is far lower than the PFML rate of 24%. The NCMEC lists 739,853 registered
citizens as of June 17, 2011 [
53]. Using a round number, there would be roughly 47,000 people who are not in
compliance for whatever reason. However, each article made different comments regarding non-compliance
statistics. Some stated “arrests,” some stated “investigations,” and some stated arrests for other offenses or parole
violations; ultimately, it was ambiguous as to how many actually failed to register, how many were breaking other
rules, and how many were simply added to the total for failure on the part of the registrant or the officer to
accurately disclose info required by the registry.

Table 2: State Non-Compliance Rates














Levenson and Harris also noted a great discrepancy in compliance by state, verified in Table 2:

A second study (Harris, Levenson, & Ackerman, under review) analyzed data obtained in 2010 via email and
telephone surveys of state registry managers. Of 42 responding jurisdictions, 29 provided counts of missing and
absconded RSOs, reporting a total of 28,678 cases with such designations. Notably, more than half of these cases
were derived from one state (California) and nearly three quarters from just four states. Rates varied significantly
across jurisdictions, ranging from less than 1% to just above 13%, with a median rate of 2.7%. Though states were
asked to report in this category only those RSOs officially designated as missing or absconded, follow-up analyses
indicated that many states (including those with the highest rates such as California and Wisconsin) included any
form of registry noncompliance in their missing/ absconded status. States using more refined definitions (e.g.,
unsuccessful attempts to locate the offender) produced more moderate estimates
.” [59]

Considering California has 106,216 registrants in the June 2011 NCMEC survey, I’m not surprised they comprise a
large portion of alleged non-compliance complaints. Could California be overestimating the number of registrants
who are failing to comply with the law? Looking at the five compliance checks listed in the Once Fallen survey (San
Diego, Yolo, Humboldt, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties), the non-compliant rate was 91 out of 1585, or a
5.7% non-compliance rate. Using the 5.7% compliance rating, the number of estimated non-compliant registrants
would be about 6,054, less than half of the 14 thousand plus estimate implicitly stated in the aforementioned
Levenson and Harris study.

Table 3: Total Study Results














STUDY DIFFERENCES

Different criteria for determining non-compliance produce different results. Whereas the Levenson studies relied
upon the public registry’s compliance listings in one study and an email and telephone surveys of state registry
managers in the second study produces different results. Going by US Marshal Compliance check results obviously
produced higher numbers than going by official registry results or audits from state registrars, but could be marred
by arrests for other issues or counted for other reasons, like being dead.  Another consideration is compliance
checks may not be all-inclusive, meaning the US Marshals may be targeting certain individuals already suspected of
criminal activity, rather than checking every registrant in a location.

Despite differences in results, no study in this report even comes close to reproducing the number of “missing” sex
offenders in the Parents for Megan’s Law Study.

OTHER ISSUES WITH NON-COMPLIANCE

People who support sex offender registries love this myth because it somehow implies that registrants intentionally
hide under the radar with the intention of committing more sex crimes. A series of studies have found no significant
differences in recidivism rates between compliant and non-compliant registrants. “Some may appear to be missing
due to inadequate or incomplete address information, data entry errors, lag times in administrative updating,
unauthorized travel, or homelessness.” Levenson and Harris also mention the complexity of ever-changing
registration requirements. Furthermore the disruptive effects of sex offender laws which cause unemployment,
housing disruption, harassment, and social alienation give incentive to intentionally disobey reporting requirements
[64].

SUMMARY

Parents For Megan’s Law (PFML) created the 100,000 “missing” sex offenders myth in 2003, a time when
implementation of the registries were still in progress. The survey results were fatally flawed, as the numbers were
the result of rough estimations rather than any official audits of public registries.

Non-compliance does not imply sex offenders are literally “missing.” Non-compliance with registration varies greatly
from state to state; non-compliance can include, but is not limited to, possession of prohibited items, retroactivity
clauses, not being able to pay fees, information snafus, arrests for non-related offenses, or even death.

Actual numbers of non-compliant or absconded offenders are far lower than estimated in the media. While estimates
vary from 2-7% depending on the methods used (the lower numbers from actual reports while higher numbers came
from studies of compliance checks), no study can replicate the results of the PFML study. State varied on estimated
non-compliance rates, but those states with large numbers of registrants and influenced surveys of non-compliance
rates, such as California, tend to overestimate non-compliance rates. Even using the study with the highest non-
compliance rate, Blue Shift’s 6.9% rate, the number of registrants would have to double from the June 2011 rate of
739,853 to reach 100,000 non-compliant sex offenders.

Non-compliance is not an indicator of increased risk of recidivism, as rates of compliant and non-compliant
registrants are roughly the same. Sex offenders abscond at lower rates than other offenders, and many cases of
“non-compliance” can be attributed to errors on the law enforcement side and ignorance of the law rather than willful
non-compliance.

This article may indeed be overkill, but the 100,000 missing sex offender myth has become one of the prevailing
myths regarding sex offenders and the public registries. It is time to dispel this myth once and for all.

REFERENCES

  1. eAdvocate. The Saga of 100,000 Missing Sex Offenders: Now the truth. Sex Offender Reports, Charts, and
    Other Papers, May 31, 2009. http://sexoffender-reports.blogspot.com/2009/05/saga-of-100000-missing-sex-
    offenders.html, Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  2. http://www.parentsformeganslaw.org/public/about_lasso.html, Retrieved July 30, 2011
  3. eAdvocate, “100,000 missing”
  4. See Stacia Hyldon’s testimony, http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/printers/112th/112-12_64584.PDF,
    Retrieved July 30, 2011
  5. Jill S. Levenson and Andrew J. Harris. 100,000 Sex Offenders Missing . . . or Are They? Deconstruction of an
    Urban Legend. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 2011. DOI: 10.1177/0887403411415398 (Page numbers are
    from an advance unpublished copy); See also Garrine P. Laney. CRS Report to Congress, Sex Offender
    Registration and Notification Law: Recent Legislation and Issues. CRS, April 18, 2007. http://lieberman.senate.
    gov/assets/pdf/crs/sexoffender.pdf, Retrieved July 31, 2011, pgs. CRS-19 to CRS-20, where it was also noted
    that PFML’s study was never published and  some of the numbers are disputed.
  6. Paul Zielbauer. Hartford's Sex-Offender Registry Shut Down After Judge's Order. New York Times, May 19,
    2001. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/19/nyregion/hartford-s-sex-offender-registry-shut-down-after-judge-s-
    order.html, Retrieved July 30, 2011
  7. Lynda Arakawa. Bill said to backtrack on sex offender registry. Honolulu Advertiser, April 7, 2004. http://the.
    honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Apr/07/ln/ln37a.html, Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  8. Levenson & Harris. Urban Legend. p.3
  9. Fact sheets: Fugitive Operations. US Marshals, Feb. 25, 2011. http://www.usmarshals.
    gov/duties/factsheets/fugitive_ops-2011.html, Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  10. Justin Hyser. Registered Sex Offender Compliance Sweep in Jefferson County. Oregon State Police Press
    Release, Nov. 20, 2010. http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/NEWSRL/news/11_20_2010_jefferson_sor_sweep.
    shtml,  Retrieved July 28, 2011
  11. Jeff Martin. Operation LASER targets EJC sex offenders. Independence MO Examiner, March 5, 2011. http:
    //www.examiner.net/news/law/x1174970838/Operation-LASER-targets-EJC-sex-offenders,  Retrieved July 28,
    2011.
  12. 14 Arrested in Countywide Sex Offender Sweep. 10 News San Diego, June 23, 2011. http://www.10news.
    com/news/28336075/detail.html, Retrieved July 28, 2011
  13. Emily Wilkins. Sweep updates E.L. sex offender information. State News, East Lansing, MI, Oct. 21, 2010. http:
    //www.statenews.com/index.php/article/2010/10/sweep_updates_el_sex_offender_information, Retrieved July
    28, 2011. “From the 62 noncompliant offenders, 31 either have failed to pay a fee or keep their paperwork up
    to date…”
  14. Liberty Tribune. UPDATE: Sex offender sweep nets 6. The Smithfield Herald, April 25, 2011. http://www.
    kccommunitynews.com/smithville-herald-news/27660218/detail.html, Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  15. US v. Bobby Smith, 481 F. Supp. 2d 846, 2007 (ED Mich., Mar. 8, 2007); US v. Jackson, 480 F. 3d 1014 (9th
    Cir. 2007); US v. Kapp & Duncan, 487 F. Supp. 2d 536 (MD Pa. May 16, 2007); US v. Marvin L. Smith, 2007
    WL 1725329 (SD W. Va. June 13, 2007); Evans v. Ohio, CV-08-646797 [Cuyahoga Co. OH, May 9, 2008];
    ACLU v. Masto et. al, Case # 2:08-0822 [So. Dist. NV Sept. 2008]; Spangler v. State, 2009-Ohio-3178 [11th
    App. Ct. Ohio, 2009]); State v. Williams, Slip Opinion No. 2011-Ohio-3374 (OH Sup Ct. July 13, 2011)
  16. Paula Horton. Sweep nets 7 unregistered sex offenders. Tacoma News-Tribune, WA, July 2, 2011. http://www.
    thenewstribune.com/2011/07/02/1729782/sweep-nets-7-unregistered-sex.html, Retrieved July 28, 2011: “A
    two-week sweep checking sex offenders in Benton County ended with seven of 150 offenders not in
    compliance with their registration requirements, officials said.”
  17. AP. Sweep finds 660 of 700 sex offenders in compliance. Charleston Gazette, July 16, 2011  http://www.
    wvgazette.com/News/201107161413, Retrieved July 28, 2011: “Operation Firecracker:” “Federal and state
    law enforcement officials have completed a sweep of 32 Northern West Virginia counties to determine if
    registered sex offenders are where they are supposed to be.  Deputy U.S. Marshal Alex Neville told the Times
    West Virginian that 660 of the 700 sex offenders checked over the past week were in compliance”
  18. Hillary Crowder. Sex Offenders arrested in compliance sweep. WVNS 59 WV, November 10, 2009. http:
    //wvnstv.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=70037, Retrieved July 28, 2011: “West Virginia State
    Troopers and U.S. Marshal's spent Nov. 9 checking in with Mercer County's 95 sex offenders. Troopers said
    the goal was to make sure they are keeping up with the sex offender registry. As a result, four people were
    arrested. *One arrest was of ‘harboring a sex offender’ after one person gave false info.”
  19. Tony Reaves. Police pick up Oxford County sex offenders in compliance sweep. Sun Journal, Dec. 10, 2010.
    http://www.sunjournal.com/oxford-hills/story/954955, Retrieved July 28, 2011: “Police departments and the
    Oxford County Sheriff's Office arrested seven men in the past week for violating the rules of their status as
    sex offenders.” According to the Home Facts website, http://www.homefacts.com/offenders/Maine/Oxford-
    County.html, there are 139 registrants in Oxford Co. ME (the state site does not have search by county listed)
  20. Jackie Smith. Eddy County Sex Offender Sweep Successful. Permain Basin 360, April 22, 2011. http:
    //permianbasin360.com/fulltext?nxd_id=105857, Retrieved July 28, 2011: “The County manages 180
    offenders and one arrest was made for a probation violation during the sweep. Another offender is being
    investigated for violating a registration requirement.” For the sake of fairness I added these two even though
    the investigation may turn up nothing.
  21. March 11, 2009: 150 sex offenders arrested in Statewide Sweep. Michigan State Police, March 11, 2009. http:
    //www.michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7-123-1586_1710-210587--,00.html, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “From Feb. 2 -
    13, 2009, officers conducted compliance checks at the registered residences of 2,220 offenders, resulting in
    150 arrests for violations of the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act.”
  22. Christopher Norse. Holland Department of Public Safety conducts sex offender compliance sweep. WZZM 13/
    My Town, March 18, 2011. http://hollandzeeland.wzzm13.com/news/crime/holland-department-public-safety-
    conducts-sex-offender-registry-sweep/54406,  Retrieved July 28, 2011: Checks were done on 166 offenders
    who show a Holland City address by officers from the Holland Department of Public Safety.  Of those, 149
    individuals were found to be in compliance with the Sex Offender Registration Act.  Further investigation was
    conducted into those cases where the offender was not in compliance.   The Holland Department of Public
    Safety is seeking charges on 9 individuals for failing to change address or failing to verify their address.  An
    additional 3 individuals already have outstanding warrants for SOR violations and 4 individuals were found to
    be currently incarcerated. I took out the 4 incarcerated, that leaves 13. Oddly, one number seems to be off.
  23. Abbie Alford. Sex Offender Compliance Check. Fox 23 OK, May 7, 2010. http://www.fox23.
    com/news/local/story/Sex-Offender-Compliance-Check/6OxiP--X_UWBDzGmZOUAlg.cspx?rss=77, Retrieved
    July 28, 2011 : Cherokee County has 77 registered sex offenders living in the county. In a two-day sweep they
    found four sex offenders who were not living where they registered.
  24. Gan Matthews, Cleveland County Does A County Wide sweep of Sex Offenders. News 9 OK,  April 29, 2011.
    http://www.news9.com/story/14538273/cleveland-county-does-a-county-wide-sweep-of-registered-sex-
    offenders, Retrieved July 28, 2011: “The sweep found that at least 65 sex offenders were in compliance with
    the law, while six may be out of compliance.”
  25. Yolo County Sex Offender Sweep Leads To 13 Arrests. CBS 13, July 21, 2011 http://sacramento.cbslocal.
    com/2011/07/21/yolo-county-sex-offender-sweep-leads-to-13-arrests/,CBS13, Retrieved July 28, 2011: In all,
    officers arrested 13 people, mostly on probation and parole violations for things like possession of
    pornography, children’s coloring books, and one had a gun. Police saying over the two day sweep they
    attempted or tried to contact 183 convicted sex offenders.
  26. Commander David Collazo. “Operation Watchdog” targets 1,000 sex offenders. San Diego SAFE Task Force
    Press release, June 23, 2011. http://www.sdcda.org/files/Operation%20Watchdog%20News%20Release%206-
    23-11.pdf, Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  27. Sean Garmire. Police perform compliance sweep of sex crime registrants. The Willits News, June 3, 2009. http:
    //www.willitsnews.com/eureka/ci_12508403, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “Brenda Godsey, spokeswoman for the
    Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, on Tuesday reported that several agencies conducted annual compliance
    checks of at least 250 sex offenders in Humboldt County who are required to register according to California
    statute. During that sweep, 10 convicted sex offenders were found to be out of compliance and were arrested
    by Sheriff's Office deputies, Godsey said. Out of the 10, four were booked for failure to register, while the
    remaining six were arrested for parole or probation violations.”
  28. April Bamberg. Sex Offender compliance sweep done in county. Newport News-Times OR, Oct. 20, 2010. http:
    //www.newportnewstimes.com/v2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=72&story_id=24780, Retrieved July
    28, 2011. “…only 20 individuals were out of compliance, according to a press release by the Lincoln County
    Sheriff’s Office. According to authorities, a 15-officer team made 182 contacts with registered sex offenders to
    verify compliance.”
  29. Operation Neighborhood Watch Concluded in Butler County. US Marshals Press Release, April 30, 2010. http:
    //www.usmarshals.gov/news/chron/2010/043010.htm, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “In Butler County, 32 out of the
    four hundred and seventy-two (472) registered sex offenders checked were found to be out of compliance
    and are facing possible local charges including additional charges of firearms violations, drug trafficking, and
    parole violation.”
  30. Caroline Rooney. “Operation Clean Sweep” surprises Independence sex offenders. NBC Action News, MO,
    June 12, 2010. http://www.nbcactionnews.com/dpp/news/crime/%22operation-clean-sweep%22-surprises-
    independence-sex-offenders, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “Of the 261 sex offenders investigated, police found
    the following: 37 offenders were not in compliance with the law”
  31. Melissa Burlaga. U.S. Marshal Service Sweeps St. Louis Co. For Sex Offenders. Northland News Center,
    August 6, 2010. http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/news/local/94951684.html, Retrieved July 28, 2011.
    “135 compliance checks were conducted; 8 non-compliant offenders will be referred to local prosecutors for
    further charges.”
  32. Tracy Moss. Danville sex offenders' compliance checked in sweep. The News-Gazette, Aug. 11, 2009. http:
    //www.news-gazette.com/news/courts-police-and-fire/2009-08-11/danville-sex-offenders-compliance-checked-
    sweep.html, Retrieve July 28, 2011. “The Danville check revealed that of the city's 107 registered sex
    offenders, 16 were not living at their registered address.”
  33. Sex Offender Sweep Nets 152 Arrests. US Marshals Press Release, July 8, 2010. http://www.usmarshals.
    gov/news/chron/2010/070810.htm, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “Operation Shepherd 2010, conducting
    unannounced sex offender compliance checks and searching for fugitive sex offenders throughout the state
    of Colorado, resulting in 152 arrests and 2,840 compliance checks.”
  34. Trent Artus. U.S. Marshals, state, and county conduct sex offender compliance check. WQOW 18 WI, July 18,
    2011. http://www.wqow.com/story/15099199/us-marshals-state-and-county-conduct-sex-offender-compliance-
    check, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “On June 28th and 29th deputies checked the addresses of 118 registered
    sex offenders. Two were found to be non compliant.”
  35. Sex Offender Sweep Nets Drug Arrests. WPTZ 5 NY, April 10, 2009. http://www.wptz.com/r/19147116/detail.
    html, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “91 sex offenders were checked by police and all were in compliance with sex
    offender laws, police said.”
  36. Beatriz E. Valenzuela. Large-scale sweep targets sex offenders. VV Daily Press, July 24, 2008. http://www.
    vvdailypress.com/news/large-7670-scale-sex.html, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “…targeted 79 offenders. Four
    were arrested half-way through the operation, one on unrelated probation violation charges.” I did not count
    the unrelated violation.
  37. 52 County Sweep Checks In On Sex Offenders. Iowa House Republicans, June 2, 2010. http://www.
    iowahouserepublicans.com/52-county-sweep-checks-in-on-sex-offenders, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “Overall,
    authorities checked in with 1,745 registered sex offenders. Of those, 155 were found to have provided a false
    address.”
  38. Austin PD. APD conducts sex offender compliance sweep. The Statesman, Oct. 18, 2007. http://www.
    statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-
    gen/blogs/austin/blotter/entries/2007/10/18/apd_conducts_sex_offender_comp.html, Retrieved July 28, 2011.
    “Field Compliance Checks Conducted: 568. Potential offender violations: 18”
  39. Operation Jessica Nets Four Arrests. Sweetwater Co. Sheriff’s Office (WY) press release, May 14, 2010. http:
    //www.sweet.wy.us/scso/mediarelease/MR-may14.html, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “Sheriff Rich Haskell said the
    teams of county and federal officers carried out 93 registered offender compliance checks in Sweetwater
    County and made four arrests between May 11th and 14th.”
  40. K. Kinley. Sex Offender sweep in Northern Kentucky. Fox 19 Kenton Co. (KY), Nov. 18, 2010. http:
    //kentoncounty.fox19.com/news/sex-offender-sweep-northern-kentucky/57677, Retrieved July 28, 2011.   
    “Over 325 registered sex offenders in Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Grant Counties were located and
    checked for their compliance during this operation. During the compliance checks thirteen arrests were made.
    Those arrests consisted of six sex offenders being arrested for non compliance in violation of the Kentucky
    State Sex Offender Registry Act. Five other registered sex offenders were arrested on charges from drug
    possession to felon in possession of a firearm. Two others were arrested in the homes of registered sex
    offenders for drug possession and felon in possession of a firearm... After all compliance checks were
    finished, it was found that twenty sex offenders are now fugitives from justice. These offenders are now no
    longer living at their registered addresses.”
  41. Ventura Co. Sheriff’s Dept. Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Conducts Sex Registrant Compliance
    Sweep. The Fillmore Gazette, May 18, 2010. http://www.fillmoregazette.com/police-fire/ventura-county-sheriff%
    E2%80%99s-department-conducts-sex-registrant-compliance-sweep, Retrieve July 28, 2011. “…sex
    registrant 290 PC compliance sweep involving 62 registered sex offenders in the city of Camarillo… (first
    registrant arrested for unrelated violation) A second subject was found to be in violation of the registration
    process.”
  42. Stan Finger. Sweep finds nearly 50 sex offenders who violated compliance terms. Wichita Eagle, May 5, 2011.
    http://www.kansas.com/2011/05/05/1837007/sweep-finds-nearly-50-sex-offenders.html#ixzz1TRvQ2nBg,
    Retrieved July 28, 2011. “Law enforcement officers who conducted a compliance check of registered sex
    offenders Wednesday night discovered 49 who had violated terms of their program, officials said… A
    verification sweep was made at the homes of 336 registered offenders in the Wichita area.”
  43. Cathy Orosz. US Marshals & DOC check 220 sex offenders for compliance. WITI-TV, April 8, 2010. http://www.
    fox6now.com/news/witi-100408-sex-offender-sweep,0,3042307.story, Retrieved July 28, 2011. Operation Cold
    Shoulder--“Together the US Marshals and the DOC check 220 registered sex offenders over the past couple
    days. They wound up arresting nine people, so the majority of those offenders were in compliance.”
  44. Kenneth Dean. Sweep: Sex Offenders' Addresses Checked. Tyler Paper, June 3, 2010. http://www.tylerpaper.
    com/article/20100603/NEWS01/6030312, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “Smith County sex offenders were paid an
    unsuspected visit by members of law enforcement Wednesday, but as the teams made their checks, they
    learned five offenders no longer reside at the addresses they gave authorities. Smith County Sheriff Chief
    Deputy Bobby Garmon said the compliance sweep was planned and was the result of a joint effort from his
    department, the Tyler Police Department, the U.S. Marshal's Office and other agencies to verify the
    addresses of 235 registered sex offenders living in the county.”
  45. April Davis. Sex Offender Compliance Operation Nets 6 Arrests. WITN, June 29, 2011. http://www.witn.
    com/wayneandwilsoncounty/headlines/Sex_Offender_Compliance_Operation_Finds_18__124750064.html,
    Retrieved July 28, 2011. “Fifteen teams of officers that consisted of at least one Federal Marshall and one
    Wayne County Deputy took to the streets of Wayne County Wednesday and arrested 6 people listed below
    for violations in the Sexual Offender Registration Requirements. They are all charged with Failure to change
    Address and were placed in the Wayne county Detention Center under $10,000 bond. Charges are pending
    on approximately 12 other violators who have either failed to register or have left the area and have not
    contacted law enforcement.”
  46. Staff Report. Lawmen complete sweep of sex offenders.” Robesonian, April 2010. http://robesonian.
    com/bookmark/7031229, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “199 sex offenders were found to be in compliance with
    state law requiring them to inform the local sheriff’s office where they live, and five were not.”
  47. Kevin McKenzie. Tipton County sweep of sex offenders nets guns, ammunition, pornography. The Commercial
    Appeal, April 26, 2010. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/apr/26/tipton-county-sweep-sex-
    offenders-nets-guns-ammuni/?partner=RSS, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “Of 112 registered sex offenders, 99 of
    them were confirmed to be living where they reported they were, officials said.”
  48. Sheriff Tommy Gage. Operation Chester Overview. Montgomery Co. Sheriff’s Dept., June 17, 2011. http://www.
    woodlandsonline.com/dbs/sheriff/files/Media%20Releases/2011_0617opchester.html, Retrieved July 28,
    2011. “Sheriff Tommy Gage said, “The Sex Offender Countywide Compliance Check was completed in one
    week and was a success.” With teams members from the Sheriff’s Office – detectives and patrol, DPS Criminal
    Investigations, and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office investigators all 750 Offenders were
    checked…Three arrests were made last week. 1) ICE deportation warrant 2) Probation violation warrant and
    3) Sex offender found living where he had not reported the change of address.”
  49. Police sweep finds one sex offender not in compliance. MT Standard, June 2, 2010. http://mtstandard.
    com/news/local/police-sweep-finds-one-sex-offender-not-in-compliance/article_bc6a0ca4-6e01-11df-bd21-
    001cc4c002e0.html?mode=story#ixzz1TSJOO3Zp, Retrieved July 28, 2011. “Butte police recently checked on
    46 of 80 registered sex offenders living in Butte-Silver Bow County and found only one was not in compliance.
  50. Operation focuses on sex offender compliance. Newark Post, July 27, 2011. http://www.newarkpostonline.
    com/articles/2011/07/28/news/doc4e3052b6d9b5f869392800.txt, Retrieved July 29, 2011. “During Operation
    Grand Slam, 355 compliance checks were conducted statewide of Tier 3 High Risk Sex Offenders throughout
    Delaware.  A total of nine offenders were found to be non-compliant for a compliance rate of over 97%.”
  51. Amber Dixon. Sex Offender Round-up. KZTV 10 TX, Oct. 30, 2009. http://www.kztv10.com/news/sex-offender-
    round-up/, Retrieved July 29, 2011. “Twenty-two law enforcement officers spent September making surprise
    visits to 767 registered sex offenders in Corpus Christi… In total, officers identified 30 sex offenders to be non-
    compliant.”
  52. RI authorities check up on sex offenders, arrest 8. Boston Globe, July 29, 2011. http://www.boston.
    com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/2011/07/29/ri_authorities_check_up_on_sex_offenders_arrest_8/,
    Retrieved July 30, 2011. “The task force checked up on 200 registered sex offenders across the state this
    month to verify that they were living at the addresses listed in the sex offender registry. Five of the men
    arrested were charged with possession of marijuana or cocaine. One was arrested on an outstanding warrant,
    one for failing to update his registration, and one for possession of child pornography.” I added the one FTR
    and the one CP.
  53. http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/sex-offender-map.pdf, Retrieved July 30, 2011
  54. Peter Lord. Palumbo says there are 500,000 registered sex offenders in U.S. and 100,000 are unaccounted
    for. PolitiFact, March 3, 2011. http://www.politifact.com/rhode-island/statements/2011/mar/03/peter-
    palumbo/palumbo-says-there-are-500000-registered-sex-offen/, Retrieved July 31, 2011. “First, we checked
    Rhode Island, where the sex offender registry lists 569 offenders. Of that total, 119 are so-called Level 3
    offenders, who have been convicted of sexual assaults, child molestation or kidnapping a minor. Ten of those
    were identified as being deported, moved out of state, incarcerated, out of state or whereabouts unknown.
    Another 225 are so-called Level 2 offenders, those who had committed less serious felony sex offenses. A
    total of 12 were identified as whereabouts unknown. So, 22 of the 569 registered offenders in Rhode Island
    are unaccounted for -- about 4 percent. We checked with some neighbors. One problem is that many use
    different criteria in entering offenders on their registries. Connecticut, for instance, does not have tiers of
    offenders.  All are lumped together, for a total of 5,279. Rather than having various categories of missing,
    public information officer Lt. Paul Vance says the state uses a category of "not in compliance." That includes
    everyone from those who haven’t supplied their addresses to those who have fled. The total is 372 or about 7
    percent. New York State identifies 31,972 offenders in three tiers. But only 490 are identified as location
    unknown. That is 1.5 percent of the total. Massachusetts has a total of 8,166 registered sex offenders. Those
    who haven’t properly registered or who are otherwise unaccounted for are termed violators. As of
    Wednesday, there were 227 violators - or less than 3 percent.”
  55. MADIGAN, I-SORT PARTNERS ANNOUNCE RESULTS OF SEX OFFENDER COMPLIANCE CHECK IN
    BLOOMINGTON. Illinois Attorney General, July 12, 2006. http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.
    gov/pressroom/2006_07/20060712.html, Retrieved July 29, 2011. “As of July 5, ISP statistics show
    compliance with Illinois’ sex offender registration requirements is at 92.8%.  The new compliance figures show
    that out of the 18,067 Illinoisans required to register as sex offenders, only 1,294 have failed to do so.”
  56. 337 MI sex offenders are non-compliant. WOOD-TV, Nov. 15, 2010. http://www.woodtv.
    com/dpp/news/michigan/operation-verify-sweep-for-october, Retrieved July 29, 2011. “As of November, there
    were 46,635 offenders on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. Following the October verification period,
    43,293 offenders were in compliance.” Cf. http://www.michigan.
    gov/documents/SOR_Backgrounder_Update_110405_141961_7.pdf, Retrieved July 29, 2011, which notes
    that non-compliance includes failure to pay registry fees or lives, works, or loiters too close to a restricted
    area.
  57. Susan Montee. MISSOURI SEXUAL OFFENDER REGISTRATION PROGRAM FOLLOW-UP. Missouri State
    Auditor, August 2010. http://www.auditor.mo.gov/press/2010-94.pdf, Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  58. Info extrapolated from http://corrections.utah.gov/services/sonar.html, Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  59. Harris, A. J., Levenson, J. S., & Ackerman, A. A. (XXXX). Registered sex offenders in the United States: Behind
    the numbers. Manuscript under review. As noted in Levenson and Harris, Urban Legend, p.8-9
  60. REGISTERED SEXUAL OFFENDER ADDRESS CHECK STUDY. BlueShiftHome.com, 2010. http://www.
    blueshifthome.com/publications/REGISTERED%20SEXUAL%20OFFENDER%20ADDRESS%20CHECK%
    20STUDY.pdf, Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  61. Ackerman, A. R., Harris, A. J., Levenson, J. S., & Zgoba, K. (2011). Who are the people in your
    neighborhood? A descriptive analysis of individuals on public sex offender registries. International Journal of
    Psychiatry and Law, 34, 149-159. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2011.04.001
  62. Levenson & Harris. Urban Legend. p. 8
  63. http://www.parentsformeganslaw.org/public/meganFederal.html, Retrieved August 7, 2011. “Further, a 2003
    registration survey conducted by Parents for Megan’s Law found that nearly 25% of the nations’ registered
    sex offenders were not complying with state registration requirements. This meant, that over 100,000 sex
    offenders were “missing” from registries across the country.” In 2003, it was estimated there were about
    425,000 registrants in the US
  64. Levenson & Harris. Urban Legend. p. 5-7
Area Checked
Registrants
Non-Compliant
% - non
Benton Co., WA [16]
150
7
4.6%
Northern WV [17]
700
40
5.7%
Mercer Co., WV [18]
95
4* (see note)
4.2%
Oxford Co., ME [19]
139
7
5%
Eddy Co., NM [20]
180
2* (see note)
1.8%
Michigan Statewide Sweep [21]
2,220
150
6.8%
Holland, MI [22]
166
13
7.8%
Cherokee Co. OK [23]
77
4
5.7%
Cleveland Co. OK [24]
65
6*
9.2%
Yolo Co., CA [25]
183
13* (see nte)
7.1%
San Diego County, CA [26]
1,012
64
6%
Humboldt Co., CA [27]
250
10* (see note)
2.5%
Lincoln Co., OR [28]
182
20
11%
Butler Co. OH [29]
472
32
6.8%
Independence, MO [30]
261
37
14.2%
St. Louis Co., MO [31]
135
8
5.9%
Danville, IL [32]
107
16
15%
Colorado [33]
2,840
152
5.4%
Barron Co., WI [34]
118
2
1.7%
Essex Co. NY [35]
91
0
0%
San Bernardino Co., CA [36]
79
3* (see note)
3.8%
Northern Iowa [37]
1,745
155
8.9%
Austin, TX [38]
568
18
3.2%
Sweetwater Co. WY [39]
93
4
4.3%
North Kentucky [40]
325
26*(see note)
7.6%
Ventura Co. CA [41]
61
1
1.6%
Wichita, KS [42]
336
49
14.6%
Milwaukee, WI [43]
220
9
4.1%
Smith Co., TX [44]
235
5
2.1%
Wayne Co., NC [45]
176
18
10.2%
Robeson Co. NC [46]
199
5
2.5%
Tipton Co., TN [47]
112
13
11.6%
Montgomery Co., TX [48]
750
1* (see note)
0.1%
Butte, MT[49]
47
1
2.2%
Delaware [50]
355* (see note)
9
2.5%
Corpus Christi, TX [51]
767
30
3.9%
Rhode Island [52]
200
2* (see note)
1%
Total
14,565
936
6.4%
STATE
Registrants
Non-Compliant
% - Non
Connecticut [54]
5,279
372
7%
Illinois [55]
18,067
1,294
7.2%
Michigan [56]
46,635
3,342* (see note)
7.1%
Missouri [57]
10,549
744
7.1%
Massachusetts [54]
8,166
227
2.8%
New York [54]
31,972
490
1.5%
Rhode Island [54]
569
22
3.9%
Utah [58]
6,959
371
5.3%
Study
Registrants
Non-Compliant
% - Non
Logue/ Once Fallen, 2011
14,565
936
6.4%
Blue Shift Home.com, 2010 [60]
49,467
2,788
6.9%
Ackerman, Harris, Levenson & Zgoba 2011[61]
*Including Homeless Registrants
445,127
17,688*
(see note)
4%
Ackerman, Harris, Levenson & Zgoba 2011[61]
*Excluding Homeless Registrants
445,127
10,765
2.4%
Harris, Levenson, & Ackerman, 2011 [62]
*********
28,678
2.7%*
Parents For Megan’s Law, 2003 [63]
425,000*
100,000*
24%