Sex offender list in N.H. growing at 8 percent a year
Relocation, work, prison release expand roster
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- The list of convicted sex offenders who live or work in New Hampshire currently has 3,092 names and is lengthening at a rate of about 8 percent per year, officials say.
The roster is expanding because offenders convicted years ago are added to it as they are released from prison, said Lieutenant Brian L. Hester, who has oversight of the register maintained by State Police.
It is also growing because offenders relocate to New Hampshire from other states or live in neighboring states but work here.
About two-thirds of the sexual offenders committed crimes against adults and the information about them in the register is restricted to law enforcement use. But the register also includes 1,138 people convicted of sexual crimes against children. Their identities are available to the public.
Posted on the State Police website is the list of ''Offenders Against Children," which is drawn from the information on all convicted sexual offenders gathered by local law enforcement.
''We did a study with the state library that showed we were getting about 18,000 visits a month on that site. When something like that case in Florida happens, interest increases," Hester said, referring to the death of Jessica Marie Lunsford.
Authorities have accused John E. Couey, 46, a sexual offender who had failed to register, of kidnapping and killing Lunsford.
State law makes it the offender's duty to report to police in the community of residence or employment within 30 days of a birth date or whenever there is a change of address.
For most convicted sexual offenders, annual registration is a lifelong requirement. The few exceptions are misdemeanor sexual offenses, which carry a 10-year registration period.
The register law took effect in January 1994, retroactive to 1988.
Knowingly failing to register is a misdemeanor.
A repeat violation can result in a felony charge, punishable on conviction with up to seven years in prison.
Arrest warrants are outstanding for 74 sexual offenders delinquent in their responsibility to register. Under the public disclosure provision of the law, their names and last known addresses are posted on the State Police website.