A new report warns South Carolina may be posting false information to the state’s sex offender tracking registry, potentially putting assault victims at risk.
The Greenville News found the inaccuracies during an evaluation of the new system used for the state’s registry.
The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) switched from the privately-operated OffenderWatch to the US Justice Department’s free Sex Offender Registry Tool (SORT) earlier this year. However, most of South Carolina’s 46 counties are using the Offenderwatch system. That has led to a lack of communication between jurisdictions and outdated information on the state sever, the report says.
When the state started using the new software, it accidentally published juvenile sex offender’s information online for almost two weeks. The paper found other intrastate and interstate discrepancies in sex offender data is still present months after switching over to the new software.
SLED officials defended the new system, saying every state has difficulty manning its roster of sex offenders. Agency chief Mark Keel blamed the gaps on offenders who failed to register with law enforcement upon moving as they are required to do.