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Sex Offender Registry flaws

by Amy Troy

Posted on April 29, 2007 at 5:41 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:39 PM

It’s a story that still haunts me. I still feel the anguish that gripped neighbors, still see the tears in their eyes. I still hear their words “thank God police found her before he killed her.” I still ask --- how could it happen?

Last August a convicted sex offender lured a seven-year old girl out of her Albany front yard. He took her to a secluded area along the banks of the Willamette River, and assaulted her. In court he later admitted the ways he sexually attacked the child.

Turns out - this convicted sex offender, Hugh Hile, had given a false address when he registered with the state. He said he lived at an Albany homeless shelter, yet officials had no record of him.

It made me wonder. How many others are giving bogus addresses?

I did some homework, here’s what I found. State records show more than two thousand RSOs have not updated their home addresses within ten days of a birthday or a move, as required by Oregon law. If they are caught, they face going back to jail.

Still others gave false information. In a follow up investigation at the same homeless shelter, Albany Police tell me they found only six of the twenty-two registered sex offenders who had registered the shelter as "home."

Keep in mind - it is perfectly legal to list a homeless shelter, or an area, as your “home” --- as long as you actually live there and police can find you there. The database was established to give police a tool to find RSOs in a timely manner.

I visited the web site to check homeless shelters in Portland. I found an RSO who claimed he was living at the Portland Rescue Mission. I also found two RSOs who listed a vacant building as their home address. I found a fourth RSO who gave a street address on West Burnside that simply does not exist. After follow up calls to their parole officers I found three had warrants - a fourth had been arrested a few days ago.

Is there any good new here? Yes. While there are no state employees checking on the thousands of addresses, law enforcement agencies statewide are running periodic “compliance sweeps” of RSOs. They’re going after anyone who has not updated his or her address, who has given a bogus address or has committed a crime. Additionally, Oregon State Police tell me its troopers have daily contact with RSOs.

I’ve learned we all play a role. As part of my investigation, I called authorities and told them of the bogus addresses listed by RSOs that I found. But I also learned it’s something I have to do, we all have to do, as members of our community.

You can check for yourself at :