19 News investigates: Ohio sex offenders hiding from police

19 News investigated if sex offender registries really work

19 News investigates: sex offenders hiding from police

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Right now, there are nearly 200 Ohio sex offenders who are missing and wanted by police.

With summer right around the corner, cops are working overtime to find them,

19 News got the chance to see how deputies track down wanted sex offenders and how they’re working to keep you safe.

It’s a process that’s a relentless effort. Deputies are chasing down convicted sex offenders to make sure they’re where they say they are.

19 News got the rare chance to go with The Summit County Sheriff’s Office on what they call random verification checks. It’s similar in all counties. In Summit, there are on-average 1,100 registered sex offenders. That number can vary daily based on how many people are required to register.

When convicted of a sex crime and sentenced, offenders must write down addresses for where they live and work. Depending on the level of offence, some offenders have to check-in with authorities every 90 days. When they move, they're required to update their address within three days.

19 News and deputies did verification checks on five of them to see if they are living where they should be.

The first stop was on Lovers Lane in Akron, the home of Eric Rogers. He was convicted of rape and got out of jail in 2010. His victim was an underage girl.

A relative told deputies Rogers doesn’t live there anymore, despite this address being listed on Roger’s registry. 19 News discovered this isn’t the first time this has happened. Court records show Rogers has been charged with failing to register at least twice in his history as a sex offender.

Deputies asked the relative to sign a form stating he hasn’t seen Rogers. Later, they’ll put a warrant out for his arrest with an escalated felony since court records show Rogers has done this before.

Right now, Detective Bill McKinney is the only deputy assigned full-time to the sex offender unit in Summit County. Budget cuts took his unit from five deputies to one.Since October 2017, he alone has filed nearly 100 warrants for sex offenders.

A handful of other Northeast Ohio Counties also have only one full-time deputy assigned to sex offender units.

Cuyahoga County has six deputies assigned to their unit. They oversee more than 2,600 registered sex offenders.

According to the state’s online sex offender registry, in Summit County there about 20 people listed as non-compliant. That means they didn’t register when scheduled to do so, wrote down a fake address, or moved, but didn’t update their registry.

That’s likely the case with the next stop.

Brandon Cameron is supposed to on 2nd Street in Akron. The house looked vacant.

Cameron was convicted of attempting to rape a girl under thirteen years in 2010.

Across the street lives Roger Right and his young daughter. "I like to keep on the area and I looked up the watchdog and he popped up, so I was always cautious,” Right said.

Deputies will later write up warrants for Cameron’s arrest, too.

The county has more than a dozen active warrants for sex offenders.

Possibly the largest problem for deputies is tracking down registered sex offenders who are homeless. Summit County has more than 100 of them.

We went to an area of Akron where a handful list their address in their registry. No one was there.

"We have to go out and post the four corners on a telephone pole where they say they are staying and then with the manpower it’s hard to go back out and verify those,” explained Lt. Scott Cottle.

During the checks, deputies found a total of two out of five offenders missing.

Deputies filed warrants for Cameron and Rogers. At last check, they still haven’t been arrested.

Summit County deputies said they hope to change some of the protocols when it comes to homeless sex offender registries. They would like to have those people come to the sheriff’s office every Friday to check in.

If a sex offender lives near you, but you haven’t seen them in awhile, you’re encouraged to call your local sheriff’s office.

You can check if a sex offender lives near you. You can also easily search to see the ones that are listed as non-compliant. Click on the link here to search the database.

Copyright 2019 WOIO. All rights reserved.