Wrong Information On Sex Offender Database: Who's Responsible?

Since KLTV went on a sex offender roundup in two counties a couple weeks ago, we've gotten some emails from viewers who say they know some sex offenders who are not living where they are registered. One in particular caught our eye.

The man who wrote us does not want to be identified. We'll call him "Dan."

"Dan" told us about a sex offender in Smith County. Dan says the man is registered at 11236 CR 472. We did a search on the DPS database and found the same. The problem is...

"That address doesn't even exist," 'Dan' said. "Where he actually lives is 12366 CR 472."

We investigated and went to CR 472 to check out the situation ourselves. The sex offender is registered at 11236. We got to the end of the road and found there is no such address. In fact, the street numbers go only as low as the 12,000 block.

We went to Sheriff J.B. Smith to get to the bottom of it. He says the address online is wrong. "11236" should be "12366." The sheriff says his department made a typo.

"The only mistake that's been made is that we were off one number on our own records, which was our fault," Smith said. "But there's been no law violated."

But the errors don't end there. The house at 12366 is vacant. The sex offender has already moved across the county to 10150 Highway 271 North.

We talked to one of his neighbors, who also wants to remain anonymous. We'll call her "Betty."

"I see him leave every morning and come home everyday," she said. "So he's living there. And I reported this. My neighbors reported this. We gave statements. And they've done nothing."

Sheriff Smith says he has had the new address since February, but the department again submitted the wrong one, with the typo, to DPS.

"I'm sure that out of hundreds and hundreds of sex offenders across this state that there's certainly going to be a mistake made somewhere," Smith said.

"As much stress as they put and try to make you feel secure with the sex offenders, but as little effort as they put forth to make sure, then I don't have much faith in it," 'Dan' said.

The one thing you can trust is the disclaimer on the DPS website, warning you of possible errors.

Sheriff Smith says today they submitted the sex offender's correct current address to the DPS.

If you see an error on the online database, law enforcement officials encourage you to let them know.

Julie Tam, reporting. jtam@kltv.com