Frequently Asked Questions About Sex Offenders

List of Questions

You may scroll down this page for every question and corresponding answer or click on a specific question
Why is the offender living in my neighborhood?
When is the Sheriff's Office going to move the offender from my neighborhood?
How often do sex offenders really re-offend?
What are the different types of sex offenders?
Are you going to tell us if the offender moves out of this neighborhood, so we do not have to worry anymore?
Why are we not told about all sex offenders?
What do I tell my children about this offender?
Now that I know a sex offender lives in my neighborhood, what should I do differently to protect my family and myself?
Why does it matter if I give the offender a hard time?
Can I post additional copies of the neighborhood notification?
Knowing My 8 Rules For Safety (for children)

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Q: Why is the offender living in my neighborhood?
A: The Sheriff's Office cannot place any restrictions on where an offender lives in any community.  While you may not be happy about an offender living in your area it is important to realize that at least you are aware of this offender.  There are countless numbers of individuals who have not been caught and continue to offend in your community.  The best defense you can have is being educated in how to protect yourself and your family members from being victimized by anyone.

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Q: When is the Sheriff's Office going to move the offender from my neighborhood?
A: The Sheriff's Office lacks any authority in forcing an offender to move from one location to another.  The Sheriff's Office is granted the authority to give community notification about specific offenders considered moderate or high risk to the community.   The Sheriff's Office also checks to see that all sex offenders are living where they are registered.  We also actively seek out those offenders who fail to register or fail to make proper notification of an address change.

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Q: How often do sex offenders really re-offend?
A: Studies indicate that approximately 5 % of treated sex offenders re-offend in a sexual way.  Untreated sex offenders re-offend approximately 7% in a sexual way.   Approximately 8% re-offend in a non-sexual, non-violent way and 3% re-offend in a non-sexual, violent way, and approximately 77% have no new offenses at all.

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Q: What are the different types of sex offenders?
A: In Ohio we have 3 classifications of sex offenders as set forth by the State Legislature, they are:

  • Sexually Oriented Offender, they were convicted of or plead guilty to a sexually oriented offense and they have to register once a year for a period of 10 years with the Sheriff's Office in the county that they reside in.
  • Habitual Sex Offender, determined by the sentencing court to have previously convicted of or plead guilty to one or more sexually oriented offenses.   They may or may not be subject to community notification, this is determined by the court.  They have to register once a year for a period of 20 years with the Sheriff's Office.
  • Sexual Predator, adjudicated by the sentencing court to be a sexual predator relative to the sexually oriented offense in question.  They are subject to community notification for life with address verification every 90 days with the Sheriff's Office.

All of the above classifications have to verify their address each and every time they move.  If they are subject to community notification it will be done each time they move or they notify us that they are moving.

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Q: Are you going to tell us if the offender moves out of this neighborhood, so we do not have to worry anymore?
A: We will not be contacting the public if this offender moves from a location.  We are obligated to notify only the new neighborhood where they move, and only those sex offenders that require community notification will be done.  Offenders move on a regular basis and it would present great difficulties in providing this notification.   To assist everyone, the Sheriff's Office posts all registered sex offenders on our web site.

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Q: Why are we not told about all sex offenders?
A: The intent of Ohio's community notification law is that you receive information that is RELEVANT and NECESSARY to enhance your safety.  Not all sex offenders pose a risk to all residents.  If the law treated all sex offenders the same,  the courts could not consider it punishment and therefore unconstitutional because the offenders have served their time.  Furthermore, knowing about every convicted sex offender does not necessarily increase your safety.  Targeting notification according to which offenders are likely to re-offend ensures you receive constructive information.

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Q: What do I tell my children about this offender?
A: Not all sex offenders offend against children.  Do not tell them scary details about the crimes.  Keep them informed in general, as it may protect them from others who would harm them.  The goal is that your child is educated about being safe from everyone, including strangers, acquaintances or family members who would victimize them.
    Here are some basic do's and don'ts regarding an offender:

  • Do not accept a ride from the offender
  • Do not go into the home or yard of the offender
  • Call 911 if your parents are not home and this offender approaches you
  • Do tell your parents if this person offers you toys, money or candy.

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Q: Now that I know a sex offender lives in my neighborhood, what should I do differently to protect my family and myself?
A: Whether or not a sex offender lives in your neighborhood you need to educate yourself and your family in safety concerns.  This is a time to reinforce family safety planning and specific concerns about this offender.  Be observant, be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.  Work with your local law enforcement agency and get involved in your Neighborhood Crime Watch program.  If your block or neighborhood does not have one, start one.  Community notification was not developed to scare you.   It exists to educate you and help you make your neighborhood safer through awareness.

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Q: Why does it matter if I give the offender a hard time?
A: It is natural to be angry or fearful when we hear about a sex offender living nearby.   Even though we know that there are over 8,600 sex offenders already living among us,  it seems like the one offender we hear about has made our life very uncomfortable.  This is a defining moment for the community.  If the result of community notification is that the offenders are  harassed, the courts or the legislature could take the law away.  We need this offender law to succeed, because if it doesn't, that means there will be another victim.  Sex offenders are less likely to re-offend if they live and work in an environment free of harassment.  If an offender is able to build a stable, crime-free life we all win.   If we lose this law, we will go back to the days of not knowing when an offender lives near us.  With this new right to know comes a new responsibility to use the knowledge constructively.

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Q: Can I post additional copies of the neighborhood notification?
A: As we have stated earlier we want the sex offender law to succeed and if you want to advise additional neighbors or individuals, please just refer them to the Sheriff's Office or to this web site.  We do not want you to be civilly liable if anything may occur to the offender, their family or property.

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Knowing My 8 Rules For Safety (for children)
1. I always check first with my parents or the person in charge before I go anywhere or get into a car, even with someone I know.
2. I always check first with my parents or a trusted adult before I accept anything from anyone, even from someone I know.
3. I always take a friend with me when I go places or play outside.
4. I know my name, address, telephone number, and my parent's names.
5. I say no if someone tries to touch me or treat me in a way that makes me feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.
6. I know that I can tell my parents or a trusted adult if I feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.
7. It is OK to say no, and I know that there will always be someone who can help me.
8. I am strong, smart, and have the right to be safe.

For More Information Contact:

Stark County Sheriff's Office
4500 Atlantic Blvd., N.E., Canton, Ohio 44705
Tel: (330) 430-3800
FAX: (330) 430-3844
Internet: strkshrf@raex.com