The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

April 25, 2010

Watching sex offenders

State law takes time, energy

DANVILLE — The information is in black and white: More than 200 men and woman convicted as sex offenders live in Danville and Vermilion County. And just as staggering are the crimes of which they are convicted.

An 84-year-old man labeled a sexual predator after crimes in DuPage County against a 4-year-old. A 24-year-old man convicted in Cook County of the attempted sexual assault of a 1-year-old baby. Six people convicted of various incidents of child pornography.

Those sex offenders and the others have been through the legal system and are serving their sentences under the watchful eye of both the city and county law enforcement and a continually knowledgeable general public.

And while most of the criminals work to remain complaint with stringent state and federal laws intended to keep track of them, enforcing those laws is a continuing battle for local law enforcement.

As of mid-week, Vermilion County had a total of 90 adult sex offenders and 11 juvenile sex offenders under monitoring of some nature. Within Danville city limits, another 166 sex offenders are registered with also 11 juvenile sex offenders.

The Sex Offenders Registration Act demands that convicted sex offenders register periodically with a local law enforcement agency. Who they register with and when are among the variables officers have to deal with.

Sheriff Pat Hartshorn said his department and the city police have been dealing with the registration by offenders as well as checks to make sure they are complying since the mid 1990s, saying it’s a constant source of work.

Ironically, he said many of the sex offenders in Vermilion County obey the registration laws.

“Of all the people that show up as non-compliant, the ones that are really ducking you is a small percentage,” he said. “There’s some that go somewhere or are arrested somewhere else.”

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