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Sex Offender Reverse Lookup Feature Unveiled Today
COLUMBUS -- Concerned parents have a new tool to help protect their kids from sex offenders.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Buckeye State Sheriffsa Association today unveiled a reverse lookup feature that allows users to input unfamiliar phone numbers, email addresses, social media screen names, and video game handles. The tool can help determine if the person on the other end of the communication is a registered sex offender in Ohio.
"In this age of technology, knowing which sex offenders live in your neighborhood isn't always enough," DeWine said. "Digital communication allows people to break geographical boundaries, and sexual predators can use this to their advantage to pose as peers and develop cyber friendships with unsuspecting children."
DeWine said registered sex offenders in Ohio are required by law to register their home address, work address, and vehicle information with their local sheriff's office to be publicly accessible through the eSORN database. Supplemental information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, screen names, and handles are also required, but are not public.
Although the reverse lookup feature will not publicly identify the offender who registered the information, it will direct the individual to contact their sheriffas office or the Attorney Generalas Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).
aEach local sheriffas office will take the information that is provided and determine what type of follow-up investigation is needed,a said Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer, the Buckeye State Sheriffsa Association SORN Committee Chairman. aIf the information you enter does not come back to a registered sex offender, it doesnat necessarily mean that the person behind the phone number, email, or social media name is harmless. Parents still need to be cautious about who their kids are talking to in general.a
DeWine said Ohio is one of only eight states that offers this new sex offender reverse lookup feature.
Find this new feature here or on your county sheriff's website.
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