Sheriff's Department Putting Sex Offender Information On Internet

CLEVELAND – If you live in Cuyahoga County and you wanted information on possible sexual predators living in your neighborhood, you haven't been able to easily access the info until now, 19/43 News' Ed Gallek reported.

Starting on Tuesday, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department began tracking convicted sexual offenders online.

Down the block from Garrett Morgan Middle School on Cleveland's near west side -- right behind a school crossing sign -- you'll find the home of a man convicted of raping two little girls.

Paul Katynski and his daughter ride past the home totally unaware.

"I wouldn't know -- nobody would know unless somebody said something," Katynski said. "I wouldn't want them in this neighborhood."

Marcy Lee, a young mother in Euclid, had no idea that 21 convicted sex offenders live in her suburb until 19/43 News showed her the list.

"Oh how nice, my next-door neighbor (is on the list)," Lee said while examining the online list. "You've got to be kidding me."

Cuyahoga County has more than 1,100 convicted sex offenders who are still considered to be dangerous, so much so that they have to tell sheriff's deputies every time they move.

Sheriff's Department Lt. Doug Burkhart said that it is now easier than ever for Cuyahoga County residents to access that information because they've started to put it on the department's Web site.

You just click on "sex offenders," look for your zip code and there you'll find pictures of the ex-convicts -- names, exact addresses and the crimes that they committed.

"It's going to increase public awareness," Burkhart said. "It's going to increase public safety. That's what it's all about."

Elizabeth Shawley found out that she is helping to raise her grandson across from a predator.

"You're on your guard, and you pay attention where you wouldn't do it otherwise," she said.

19/43 News surprised a convicted rapist with the news that his picture was about to go on the Internet for everyone to see. He said that he didn't think it was fair, and he walked away.

What sheriff's deputies are doing, however, sure seems fair to Marcy Lee.

"I have a 7-year-old daughter," Lee said. "Of course, I'm going to be watching."

Because the online list is just starting, you'll currently only find the predators considered to be the most dangerous, but the county's other registered sex offenders will be added soon.

Sheriff's in Lake, Summit, Stark, and Medina counties also have similar Web sites. Here is the complete list of links to those important Web pages: