Where Are The Sex Offenders? - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Where Are The Sex Offenders?

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -  "Arkansas needs to get on the ball. They need to update their site. Give us as much information as they can. We need to know."

Donnie Davis of Lake City is upset. He says a convicted sex offender from Florida, James Earl Gorum, recently lived next door to him and his teenage children. Gorum was convicted in 1993 of sexual battery on a victim under 12. He was released from prison five years ago he's been living back and forth between Monette and Lake City since January. Florida's sex offender website states Gorum's current address as Monette. Yet if you search for Gorum on Arkansas' site you get nothing.

"It's very frustrating. I have kids on this street. My neighbors have kids on this street. It would be nice to know. It would be nice to know ahead of time."

"Getting that information from them, in a timely fashion and getting it out to the public is our biggest frustration."

Paula Stitz heads up the state's sex offender website at ACIC; The Arkansas Crime Information Center in Little Rock. She admits the process of getting sex offender information on the web takes too long. She puts the blame on an outdated process.

"It is a slow process right now because it's done on paper right now"

That means whenever a new offender is added or removed, an offender changes address, or has some change in status, that new information has to be taken at the local level and mailed to ACIC. It ends up here in this inbox.

It's not just the piles of paperwork, but the manpower it takes to process it.

Stitz says she has three people prepping the info for the web. On a good day, each person can process about ten sex offenders. Do the math, they are constantly playing catch-up. But the numbers are about to change.

"I've been to other states and their websites have more information than Arkansas' does."

 State Representative Dawn Creekmore is working to bring the state's website up to speed. She has proposed legislation that will give Paula Stitz's department two more people. But the real improvement is coming thanks to a pair of grants from the Justice Department that will take the "paper" out of the system.

"It's like comparing horse and buggy days and now we can get there in an airplane."

The state's new sex offender website, when fully implemented, most likely by next summer, will allow local sex offender registration officers like Jonesboro's Ernest Ward to copy, paste and email new information directly to Stitz's team at ACIC where it's double-checked, put in the database and off to the website.

Stitz says, "it will cut back our time by 1/2" maybe more."

Representative Creekmore adds, "Someone is in prison and they get released a free person. But they are predators for their children to know they are out there without the knowledge of there whereabouts. This gets the word out there that day. To me you can't put a dollar amount on what that does for the people of arkansas.

If you would like to visit ACIC's sex offender website, you can visit it at

http://www.acic.org/Registration/index.htm

 

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