CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois Attorney General reminded parents to check the sex offender registry before heading out to trick-or-treat Thursday. But that registry isn’t as comprehensive as it may seem.
CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey has been exposing the bogus addresses in the registry for months.
The day after kids collected treats, CBS 2 discovered yet again that the sex offender registry is full of tricks.
The attorney general urged parents to check the registry to “make sure they know where sex offenders live in their communities” on Thursday.
But the CBS 2 investigators have shown that’s far from foolproof.
Sex offenders have been getting away with registering not only wrong, but blatantly fake addresses.
One particularly bold man claims to live in the Cook County Administration Building.
A security guard told CBS 2 that the building is all offices — no one lives there.
Another claimed to live at a P.O. box.
Others listed the wrong zip codes, so families who checked zip codes where they live wouldn’t find nearby sex offenders.
Six months after CBS 2 highlighted these addresses to Illinois State Police, the Attorney General’s Office and local police, they haven’t been fixed.
Even worse – CBS 2 is finding more addresses that are obviously wrong.
For example, two men, both convicted sex offenders, listed their residence in the registry as 219 S. Dearborn St.
The problem? That’s the Dirksen Federal Building. And while they both had cases that went through federal court, they don’t live there. No one does.
There are more than 32,000 offenders on the registry as of Friday morning. About 2,000 aren’t complying with registration requirements.
Another 569 are just listed as “location unknown.”
So what’s actually being done to straighten this out?
Illinois State Police explained that the wrong addresses will sometimes stay in the system until law enforcement is able to verify that the offenders don’t actually live there — and that’s when their status is changed to “location unknown.”
“The Illinois State Police continues to work with other state, county, and local law enforcement agencies to ensure that we have the most current information provided to the Illinois State Police,” the agency said in a written statement.
ISP has a disclaimer on the website that ISP makes “no representation, express or implied, that the information contained on the Registry is accurate.”
There was still no answer Friday night from the Attorney General’s Office regarding efforts to encourage local police departments to check the addresses before entering them.