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Sex offenders' photos missing

Local police explain why pictures are not on website

Published: Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 8:37 a.m. CST

Illinois requires registered sex offenders to have their photos on the state's database.

Most do, but not all.

As of mid-week, Whiteside and Lee counties each were missing photos for six offenders on the state sex offenders website, which is run by state police.

Whiteside County's section included 124 offenders, while less populous Lee County had 73.

According to the state police website, local law enforcement agencies must take photos of offenders in their jurisdictions when they register. They must then forward the pictures to state police.

The state police website says offenders lack photos on file for two reasons: local agencies didn't take their pictures during registration, or they never forwarded them to state police.

According to their website, state police try to ensure that all sex offenders have photos attached to their information.

Sean Black, a spokesman for the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said no one had called his group about photos not appearing on the state website.

"We hope the agencies resolve that issue," he said. "The website loses some of its functionality without the pictures. Obviously, when people go on it, they want to see the picture and the address."

If pictures are not posted, the public is advised to call local law enforcement agencies to inquire about such problems, according to the state police website.

Sauk Valley Media did just that, and here's what it found out:

Dixon

Three sex offenders living in Dixon had no photos. 

One of them got his photo taken for his initial registration a day before Sauk Valley Media called, Police Chief Danny Langloss said.

As for the two others, Langloss said in an email, "We will resend them today, since [state police] don't have them."

Unincorporated Lee County

A couple of offenders were without photos in unincorporated parts of Lee County – the Sheriff's Department's jurisdiction.

One offender's photo was forwarded to the state police a couple of weeks ago, Sheriff John Varga said. 

"Why it's not there, I'm not sure," he said. "The other one is being sent today."

Ashton

Another offender without a photo lives in Ashton.

"If we have to take a photo, we will," Police Chief Darrell Farringer said. "I'm all for it."

Sterling

Two sex offenders in Sterling lack photos on the website.

One of them has moved to Wisconsin, where he was convicted in the first place, said Claudia Garcia, who handles the registrations for the Sterling Police Department. She was informed about that development by a parole officer. She said she thought the other agency would remove the information from the website.

The Wisconsin sex offender website showed the man had, in fact, moved to Madison.

As for the other offender, Garcia said, "I would guess he came in here to register and our booking machine wasn't working properly and was unable to take a photo at the time, or an officer assumed we had a picture."

Morrison

A man convicted of a sex offense in Missouri lives in Whiteside County's seat.

Chief Brian Melton was aware of that man.

"He was registered through the state probation or parole system," Melton said. "I'll do a little research on this. If I need to take a photo, I will."

Fulton 

Renee Borgman, the Fulton Police Department's employee in charge of tracking sex offenders, was aware of a man convicted in DuPage County who now lives in Fulton.

She said a photo was taken and that local schools had it.

After an interview, Borgman called back to say she had re-sent the information to state police, saying the agency told her it updates its website every Friday.

Prophetstown

A man convicted in Iowa lives in Prophetstown. No photo was on the state website.

Police Chief Mike Fisk was familiar with the offender.

"Probation did call in November about the address where he would be living. They wanted to take a look at it," he said. 

As for the lack of a photo, the chief said, "I think we can get that fixed."

Unincorporated Whiteside County

The Whiteside County Sheriff's Department said it would check the one convicted sex offender in its jurisdiction whose photo is not on the website.

Missing photos

Here are where sex offenders without photos live:

WHITESIDE COUNTY

• Two in Sterling

• One in Fulton

• One in Prophetstown

• One in Morrison

• One in unincorporated Whiteside County

LEE COUNTY

• Three in Dixon

• One in Ashton

• Two in unincorporated Lee County

Banned on Facebook but not locked out

Facebook bars convicted sex offenders from its website, but plenty of them use it anyway.

In a spot check of records, eight sex offenders in Whiteside County and one in Lee County are on Facebook.

Facebook has a feature in which people can report sex offenders on the website. The company requires documentation verifying that a user is a convicted offender. Examples of documentation include a listing in a national sex offender registry, a court document, or an online news story. 

A few years ago, the state enacted a law that prohibits sex offenders from social media such as Facebook. It applies to those who committed sex offenses and were convicted after Jan. 1, 2010. They must refrain from accessing or using a social networking site while on probation, parole or mandatory supervised release.

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