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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Watchdog Review of Each of the Fifty States Sex Offender Laws Finds Minnesota Ranked The Most Unsafe

In 2016, Kare11 came out with a story on the weak sex offender laws in Minnesota sourcing a full study by Protect.org. “We know of no other state in the union with sentencing as weak as Minnesota’s for child sexual exploitation.” This was so shocking some of us at Washington County Watchdog decided to look at all 50 state’s sex offender laws (plus D.C.) and write a report documenting and sourcing each state’s sex offender registry laws. Our focus was looking up each state’s Sex Offender Registration and Community notification laws. 

Legislators, see our bill ideas.

Most people think all released sex offenders in Minnesota have to register with the State who then informs the public who they are and where they live. With current MN law that’s absolutely false, according to the Department of Corrections it’s only 2%! (see 7th paragraph)

Minnesota Law is recklessly inadequate when it comes to public disclosure of sex offender data and community notification. After thorough study, with sourcing every state’s laws and registry website, we discovered Minnesota undeniably has the worst sex offender laws in the Country by far. Below we made a table ranking the States in 8 groups from Safe to Unsafe. For example 26 states are in the safest category (dark Green) and register ALL sex offenders for life and post their name, photo, crime, exact address, etc on a public website.
Minnesota is ranked alone as the most unsafe.


In MN only the worst of the worst felony sex offenders not in prison are required to register and have the public notified of only the “vicinity” they live. These are the highest level 3 felony convicted sex offenders. Rarely are they held to register for life. According to MN state statute 263.166 subd. 5a the minimum time level 3 sex offenders have to be registered is just 10 years. This is also the max level 1 & 2 offenders can be required to Register.

According to MN Law State Statute 244.052, level 3 is the highest level of sex offender and the highest risk of re-offense. Almost every state uses this same three level ranking system. This risk assessment ranking began in 1997 in MN and convicts have the ability to move down the scale, but most never get assigned a level. According to the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) FAQ page “Approximately 75% of the offenders registered in Minnesota have never been assigned a risk level.” Of the 25% of sex offenders who have been given a risk assessment level, only the highest level 3 have registered data that in rare cases the public is actively informed about. The Minnesota Predatory Offender Registry (POR), where the data is held, states on their website that Most registration information is classified as private.“… That seems wrong. When the 35W bridge fell killing 13 people the legislature put to law to have the thousands of bridges in MN inspected and ranked. Yet every year in our State, dozens of children are horrifically raped and sexually assaulted and sex offenders rarely spend more than a year in jail and 75% of them are not ranked.

According to MN Law State Statute 609.345 subd 7 only “egregious first-time offenders” and “repeat offenders” are required to stay up to date registering their location etc with the State… again, rarely is that data public. The Minnesota Department of Corrections only posts the “vicinity” of where a sex offender lives by giving the city and cross streets allowing at best a four city block location. If they live in an apartment complex… then they’ll post the block they live on… which still leaves dozens of possibilities. ie: if the convicted sex offender lives in an apartment complex that means you wouldn’t know if they lived right next to you or on the other side of your block at a different complex unless you memorized their face.

According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) search page there are only 363 level 3 sex offenders with this limited data posted. On a 2013 flier from the DOC about the “Community Information act” they state there are “17,400 registered (active) predatory offenders” in MN. That is only 2% of registered and “active” sex offenders who are required to be on the registry allowing the public to know who they are and the “vicinity” of where they live. Remember, 75% of sex offenders have not been assigned to a sex offender level to even make the list so you can understand there’s a lot more than 17,400 sex offenders in MN.

According to a 2012 Patch.com article there were 280 convicted sex offenders living in Washington County. The head prosecutor for Child Trafficking Crime in Washington County, Imran Ali, stated in January of 2017 he was not sure how many sex offenders live in our county at this time. See alsoRampant Sex Crime on Children, in Just 2yrs, 10 Cases From County Alone, 8 Simple Laws to Update

It’s time for Minnesota Sex Offenders to come out of the shadows and have their names, photos, and exact addresses shown like 47 other states now require.

Findings Summary:
-26 states have life registration for ALL levels of sex offenders on their state's public website listing names, exact address, crime, etc. 
-9 additional states do the same life registration on public website with exact address etc; except level 1 offenders register for 10 to 20 years.
-11 more states have Life Registration on public website for level 3; level 2 registered for 25 years; and level 1 for 15 years. Posting their photo, exact address, crime, etc (not listing level 1 addresses)
-Of the remaining 4 states Only Minnesota does not list level 2 and 1 sex offenders.
-Only Vermont with only 1,300 sex offenders, Maine with only 2,700 sex offenders, and Minnesota with over 17,000 sex offenders do not post the exact address of sex offenders. (yet Vermont requires all offenders to register for life)

-Minnesota is dead last for sex offender laws because only level 3 offenders register for minimum of ten years (see above). Some state sources claim it’s life but clearly not always. MN posts just the cross streets of the block they live on. Level 2 and 1 are not listed and they have weak ten year max on registry. Horrific three time offending serial rapists can be ranked as level 2 offenders.

Lastly:
Please Consider Helping Victims of Sexual Assault in Washington County with EmpowerSurvivors out of Stillwater. They are a 501(c3), every cent goes to the victims peer support. They also need office supplies for their location. See our post about them here:



26 states            
Life Registration on public website for ALL levels of sex offenders
Posting their photo, exact address, crime, etc. (except Vermont just the city)
Some states do not post the lowest level 1, but no offenses against a child are level 1 in these 26 states:
Safety Level
State Law:
Website: 
Comment
Alabama 


Alaska


Arizona

Arkansas



(level 1 not listed public)
California


Colorado


Florida


Georgia


Hawaii


Idaho


Kentucky

only a few low level offenses can be 20 years
Mississippi


Missouri


Nevada

(level 1 not listed public)
New Hampshire

(level 1 listed 10 years)
New Jersey


New York


North Carolina

(Only a few low level offenses can be 30 years)
Oregon

(level 1 & 2 not listed public)
South Carolina


South Dakota

(Only 3,500 sex offenders)
Tennessee


Texas


Vermont

(only 1,300 sex offenders) but not address, only the city
Virginia


Wyoming


9 States
Life Registration on public website for level 2 and 3 
Level 1 registered for 10 years unless otherwise stated. 
Posting their photo, exact address, crime, etc (level 1 not listed publicly)




Connecticut

(all offenses against kids register)
Illinois


Indiana


Iowa


Rhode Island

(all offenses against kids register)
Utah


West Virginia

(all offenses against kids register for Life)
Massachusetts

(Level 1 register 20 years)
Wisconsin

(Level 1 register 15 years)
11 States

Life Registration on public website for level 3.
level 2 registered for 25 years on public website.
level 1 for 15 years. 
Posting their photo, exact address, crime, etc 




Delaware

(Only 4,700 sex offenders),
Kansas


Louisiana


Maryland


Michigan


Montana

(only 2,500 sex offenders) (level 1 register 10 years)
Nebraska

(only 5,100 sex offenders)
North Dakota

(Only 1,500 sex offenders)
Ohio

§2950.01.

Oklahoma

(only 6,300 sex offenders)
Pennsylvania


Life Registration on public website for level 3.
level 2 registered for 20 years on public website.
level 1 for 10 years. 
Posting their photo, exact address, crime, etc





New Mexico





(3,500 sex offenders)
Life Registration on public website for level 3.
level 2 registered for 15 years on public website.
level 1 for 10 years. 
Posting their photo, exact address, crime, etc




Washington


Life Registration on public website for level 3.
level 2 and 1 registered for 10 years on public website.
Posting their photo, exact address, crime, etc




Washington D.C.

(only 1,100 sex offenders)
Life Registration on public website for level 3.
level 2 registered for 25 years on public website.
level 1 for 15 years. 
Posting their photo, crime, etc, HOWEVER, only post the city they live




Maine

Only 2,700 sex offenders
WEAKEST LAWS OF ALL FIFTY STATES (and D.C.)
Lists only level 3 offenders who register for Life (not always) posting just the cross streets of the block they live on. 
Level 2 and 1 not listed and ten year max on registry




Minnesota

17,000 sex offenders