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Officials Stepping Up Enforcement of Sex Offender Registry

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RALEIGH — For convicted sex offenders, a Web site bearing their names, faces, and offenses is part of the punishment. Theonline registryalso bears their addresses. In recent years, many sex offenders have broken the law all over again by not giving accurate information.

In 1998, WRAL's Cullen Browder went door to door trying to verify that sex offenders live where they say they live and found plenty who lied. One even gave a parking lot as his home address.

Since that time authorities have stepped up their enforcement of the online sex offender registry.

Certified letters go out annually to every convicted sex offender who gets out of prison. If the letters return to sender unsigned, deputies roll.

"There's always a handful of individuals who try to work around the system and continue on with the lifestyle they were carrying on prior to their arrest," says Capt. Bill McClain of Wake County Sheriff's Department.

In fact, McClain says in the past year warrants have been issued for about 15 offenders who lied about where they lived in the county. That is a felony.

Browder took to the streets again to test the registry's accuracy, and this time his tour turned up mostly truthful offenders.

We tracked down convicted offender Denis Wood at his registered address. He admitted many of his former fellow prisoners are asking for trouble.

"And a lot of guys, the guys who aren't where they're supposed to be, they don't understand, simply do not understand people are serious when they say if you're not where you're supposed to be, we'll lock you back up in prison," says Wood.

One of those people is Kwesi Holloway, who detectives recently arrested for failing to register correctly. He will likely head back to prison.

Deputies are still looking for Antonio Chance. When Chance got out of prison for second-degree sex offense, he told authorities he lived with his parents at a home right next to North Garner Middle School.

His parents say they have no clue where he is, and investigators could use some help tracking him down.

In fact, they rely on the public to keep sex offenders in line.

"People that live in neighborhoods who have a sex offender living in the neighborhood, what they'll end up doing if they see some unusual movement or notice that the person has moved away, they'll contact us," says McClain.

McClain says more than 250 registered sex offenders now live in Wake County. The law grants them the same rights as everyone else as long as they abide by their probation and registry requirements.

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Cullen Browder, Reporter
Lynn French, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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