SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Out of the 20 most populous Missouri counties, Greene County is ranked 6th in the list of counties where you are most likely to come across a registered sex offender.
To put it another way, 3.09 out of every 1,000 people in Greene County is a registered sex offender. In the St. Louis city county, that rate is 4.5 out of every 1,000 people. In Kansas City’s Jackson County, the rate is 3.06 out of every 1,000 people. Jackson County has more than twice the population of Greene County, but a comparable rate of registered sex offenders.
Five other counties have higher percentages of registered sex offenders than Greene County. Only one of them has a higher population than Greene County: St. Louis city county. For those who aren’t aware — St. Louis the city is its own county, surrounded by the county called St. Louis, which is why it shows up twice on the list.
If one ranks the 20 most populated Missouri counties by the number of registered sex offenders overall, Greene County moves up to 4th place, behind Jackson County, St. Louis county, and the St. Louis city county. However, Springfield is also the 3rd largest city in Missouri.
It should be noted that these numbers regularly wax and wane, as they are updated every day with people being taken on and off the sex offender list.
One of the reasons more sparsely populated counties often have higher rates of sex offenders than more populated counties could be that sex offenders can only live in certain areas that are far enough away from churches, schools, and parks. More populated counties generally have more of these facilities, which can make it more difficult for sex offenders to find housing.
People who want to find out who is on the sex offender registry in their area can do so through an easy-to-use online tool offered by the U.S. Department of Justice website. The map search tool shows you the residences and work addresses of registered sex offenders near a specified address, as well as the nature of the crimes the offenders committed.
You can also use an interactive map from the Missouri State Highway Patrol Sex Offender Registry website to view the city as a whole. Here’s an example of Springfield’s results:
Who gets put on the sex offender registry?
A common misconception is that many of the people on the sex offender registry list are not violent offenders. The “urinating in a park at 2 a.m.” example is one of the more common examples. However, in Missouri, only truly sexual charges will get someone time on the sex offender registry.
When a judge sentences someone found guilty of a sex-related crime, they may add to their sentence a certain amount of time on the sex offender registry list to go along with any prison time or fines they might have to pay.
Some misdemeanors can put someone on the sex offender registry. But, for the most part, most people on the sex offender registry have committed felony offenses. A full list of the charges that get someone on the sex offender registry can be found at the end of this article.
What rules must sex offenders follow?
Registered sex offenders have a series of rules they have to follow to stay compliant with their status. Certain sex offenders must follow these rules:
- Can’t live within 1,000 feet of public or private school up to the 12th grade or any childcare facility. If the sex offender established residency before the school or facility opened, they must prove it to their local sheriff’s office.
- Can’t be within 500 feet of school property or childcare facility while children are present.
- Can’t be within 500 feet of any park with playground equipment or a pool.
- Can’t be a coach, trainer, etc. of any sports team that has a minor in it.
- On Halloween, they have to avoid all contact with children, stay in their residence between 5-10:30 p.m., post a sign that says “No candy or treats at this residence,” and leave their outside lights off at night.
Tiered sex offense system
In 2018, Missouri implemented a tiered system for how long sex offenders must stay on the registry. Sex offenses are categorized into three tiers, with Tier I populated by the lightest offenders and Tier III with the worst offenders.
Tier I offenders must stay on the list for at least 15 years. However, if they keep a clean record, they may file to be removed from the registry after 10 years.
Tier I offenses include:
- Sexual abuse, 1st-2nd degree with a victim 18 or older.
- Sexual misconduct involving a child, first offense if the punishment is less than a year.
- Kidnapping, 2nd-3rd degree.
- Sexual conduct with a nursing facility resident or vulnerable person, 1st degree if the punishment is less than a year.
- Sexual contact with a prisoner 18 or older.
- Sex with an animal.
- Sex trafficking a victim 18 or older.
- Possession of child pornography.
- Sexual misconduct, 1st-2nd degree.
- Child molestation, 2nd degree if it happened before 2017 and the punishment is less than a year
- Invasion of privacy with a victim younger than 17.
Tier II offenders get at least 25 years on the registry and can’t apply to be removed from it until they stay on it for 25 years. While Tier II offenders are on the list, they have to report twice a year: once during their birthday month and six months after that.
Tier II offenses include:
- Statutory sodomy, 2nd degree with a victim 16-17.
- Child molestation, 3rd degree with a victim 13-14.
- Child molestation, 4th degree with a victim 13-17.
- Sexual contact with a student 13-17.
- Enticement of a child.
- Sexual abuse of a child 13-17.
- Sexual exploitation of a minor.
- Promoting child pornography, 1st-2nd degree.
- Patronizing prostitution.
- Sexual contact with a prisoner 13-17
- Sexual misconduct involving a child, first offense with a punishment more than a year.
- Age misrepresentation with intent to solicit a minor.
Tier III offenders have to stay on the sex offender registry for life. Tier III offenders must report to law enforcement every 90 days.
Tier III offenses include:
- Rape, 1st-2nd degree.
- Statutory rape, 1st degree.
- Endangering the welfare of a child if sexual in nature, 1st degree.
- Sodomy, 1st-2nd degree.
- Statutory sodomy with a victim younger than 16.
- Sexual misconduct involving a child, if second offense.
- Sexual abuse with a victim younger than 13, 1st degree.
- Kidnapping a victim under 18, excluding parents and guardians, 1st degree.
- Sexual conduct with a nursing facility resident or vulnerable person, 1st degree if the punishment is longer than a year.
- Endangering the welfare of a child with intercourse younger than 18, 1st degree.
- Child molestation, 1st-2nd degree.
- Child molestation, 3rd degree with a victim younger than 13.
- Promoting prostitution, 1st-3rd degree with a victim younger than 18.
- Promoting travel for prostitution with a victim younger than 18.
- Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation with a victim younger than 18.
- Sexual trafficking of a child, 1st-2nd degree.
- Genital mutilation of a female child.
- Statutory rape, 2nd degree.
- Child molestation, 4th degree with a victim younger than 13.
- Sexual abuse, 2nd degree if the punishment is more than a year of prison.
- Patronizing prostitution, persistent offender.
- Abuse of a child younger than 13 if sexual in nature.
- Sexual contact with a prisoner with a victim younger than 13.
- Sexual intercourse with a prisoner.
- Sexual contact with a student younger than 13.
- Use of a child in a sexual performance.
- Promoting a sexual performance by a child.