State seeks missing sex offenders in county

By Nina Gougis

About 400 sex offenders in Illinois have fallen off the state’s radar, and four of them were last known to live in DeKalb County.

The state attorney general’s office updated its sex offender registration process to track down these missing sex offenders by adding a hotline, a task force to find these offenders and an improved online registry that lists whether or not the offender is registered with police.

There are 17,000 offenders in Illinois who are required to register annually with local police. Postcards were sent to 1,700 unregistered offenders. Of those, 393 were returned as undeliverable, said Cara Smith, policy director for the Illinois attorney general.

There are 69 sex offenders listed in DeKalb County, four of which are listed as non-compliant to the sex offender registration laws, according to the Illinois state police sex offender registry.

A major problem is that many of these people fail to register when they move to a new county, said DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott.

“The problem is if they move and do not tell anyone, then no one knows where they are,” Scott said.

The online registry and hotline could be useful for anyone who wants to make more informed decisions that affect their loved ones.

“Most times, a sex offender may not be a creepy guy in the trench coat. It’s not always that obvious,” Smith said. “That’s why it’s so important for people to check the registry and know what’s going on.”

The attorney general started the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Team, in April 2003 as a resource for those who want or have information on offenders.

The hotline has been exceptionally successful in finding missing offenders who may have moved to other states, said Alesia Crockett, program director for the attorney general who also works on the hotline.

The fugitive task force will be a coordinated effort with the attorney general’s office, the Great Lakes Regional Task Force and the Illinois Department of Corrections, Smith said. The force will help organize local police to find and charge missing offenders, she said.

Sex offenders are required by state law to register with police in their counties annually for either 10 years or life, depending on the severity of the crime. Those who fail to register could be charged with a Class 3 felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Scott, who mails out a list of offenders in the county to schools and child care facilities each year, said the new services will help give those in the community more peace of mind.

“It’s really for the comfort of the citizens and their jurisdictions,” Scott said. “That way, they have an idea as to what is going on around them.”

Anyone with complaints or information on missing sexual offenders can visit the registry at or call the ISORT hotline at 888-41 ISORT.