Close to 200 registered sex offenders live in the Bowling Green area, but Klaas Kids Foundation estimates that only 90 percent of offenders actually register in Ohio.

There are currently 14,077 registered offenders in Ohio, of which 179 live, work or go to school in Wood County. If 10 percent actually do fail to register, as Klaas Kids reports, this would mean 18 convicted sex offenders are unaccounted for in the Bowling Green area.

Bill Ervin, lieutenant for Wood County Sheriffs Office, makes it his job to track down these sex offenders and put them behind bars when they fail to let him know where they are living or working in his jurisdiction.

‘If they don’t get a hold of me to register, then I go looking for him and find out why they didn’t register,’ he said. ‘I give them every opportunity to register. But several offenders give me no option but to send the case over to the prosecutor’s office when they fail to comply.’

‘One guy just got sentenced to 11 months in prison because he failed to register with me that he was working in Wood County. I am not afraid to go after these offenders I know are in my community who do not comply with the law.’

The law states that first-time sexual offenders must register annually for 10 years, habitual offenders annually for 20 years, and sexual predators who forcefully commit sexual acts must register every 90 days for life. But, if an offender plans to move, work or go to school in a different county then they must register within five days of entering that county. If they fail to

register they can be charged with a felony.

Bob Beasley, Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro’s spokesman, said the laws in Ohio have become stricter for sexual offenders in order to protect the public.

‘Ohio Senate Bill five has really strengthened the laws in a positive manner,’ he said. ‘It requires a statewide database that the public can access so they can know where sexual offenders live around them.’

Ohio Senate Bill five also prohibits sex offenders from living 1,000 feet from any school – excluding colleges and universities.

Twenty-nine sexual offenders live in Bowling Green close to the University. Some of the streets where these offenders live include Clough, East Wooster, Mercer, South Main and Third Street.

Amy Schraff, senior, is unhappy that she lives next to a sexual offender and was never told by authorities.

‘It’s kind of creepy that I walk by a sexual offender’s house all the time and I just now found out that he lives there,’ she said. ‘I feel like I don’t really ever hear anything about these people moving in. It’s not right that you have to do the investigative work yourself to find out where these criminals live.’

In addition to those offenders who live in Bowling Green, there are those who work and go to school in Bowling Green. There are 26 offenders who work in Bowling Green and three students who go to the University.

In the network

A database to locate these sex offenders is found on the Wood County Sheriff’s Office Home page under the sexual offenders link. The program also offers you to be put on a mailing list to notify you when an offender moves into a specific area.

GO TO: http://www.woodcountysheriff.com/showpage.asp?id=6