A total of thirty six people living in DeKalb County have registered as sex offenders.
Under a new law, anyone who has ever committed a sex crime is now required to report their whereabouts to the registry.
Locating an offender near your own home has already become a lot easier as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has begun a system which pinpoints the locations where sex offenders live on a map. All this information is available for public access via the Internet.
TBI Director Mark Gwynn says " the former sex offender law only required offenders to register if they were incarcerated, on probation, or on parole as of January 1st, 1996. The new law is retroactive, meaning anyone who has committed a sex crime in the past, regardless of the date, must now report to their local law enforcement agency."
While the listing requirements were strengthened for some, they were relaxed for lesser violators as many persons convicted of statutory rape are no longer required to list themselves.
The new law also allows those formerly on the registry for statutory rape to petition to have their pictures and names removed. Statutory rape convictions of persons who were more than 10 years older than their victims are still required to list themselves in most cases.
Failure of a convicted sex offender to list his or herself on the registry is a felony, generally punished by several additional months behind bars,
The updated system also requires sex offenders who move to Tennessee from other states to list themselves here if they were registered offenders in their former state, even if their offense is not covered under Tennessee's list of requirements.
The tightening of listing laws comes as the TBI has put a new mapping system on it's Web site to assist the public in tracking convicted sex offenders. The search engine uses a map overlay of the state's 95 counties to show exactly where an offender lives. The search engine provides several ways to locate an offender. The TBI's Web site is www.tbi.state.tn.us.