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Keeping tabs on registered sex offenders

Registered sex offender websites:

In an ever-changing population and landscape in Jasper County local law enforcement aims to keep track of registered sex offenders.

Thousands of residents were displaced after the tornado and that includes sex offenders.

Jasper County officials say of the 333 registered sex offenders in the county six were displaced but they have all been accounted for and updated in the system.

Jasper County Sheriff’s detective Roy Teed is the head of the Offender Watch Program and says the county was prepared to track these offenders down if need be, but each one reported to the authorities on their own and provided them with their new place of residence.

“All of them whose houses were destroyed during the tornado have contacted us and have updated their registration to where they’re now residing,” says Teed.  “We didn’t have to go hunt anybody down.”

Teed says the map of sex offenders is current and is updated every day.

Teed says with volunteers coming in and out of Jasper County as well as residents and schools relocating it’s important to be aware of where sex offenders are living.

“We’ve had 14 registered offenders that we know of come from other counties or states to come help with the clean-up, who are now registered with us - that’s the ones we know of but people are coming and going so parents just need to be aware the can go check the website and see who’s listed as being there,” says Teed.

Several Joplin schools have started building temporary schools in new locations and this raises the question, what about registered sex offenders already living in these areas?

“As far as any offenders who were living in an area before schools come in, they don’t have to move – state law says they can stay, so we can’t make them move,” Teed says.

“It does make me uncomfortable as a parent but Joplin had such a horrible tragedy - we don’t have very many options,” says Joplin resident Jessica Kell.

Child abuse experts say now is the time to talk with your children about possible dangers.

“Sit down and have those conversations with those kids, that’s the best thing we can do,” says Chad Adams, the Executive Director of the Children’s Center.  “Education is the best way that we can protect our children.”

“Whether there was a tornado or not, parents need to pay attention to where there kids are going and what they’re doing,” Teed says.


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