February 8, 2006
SEXUAL OFFENDER REGISTRY DATA
By: Sandra Norman-Eady, Chief Attorney
You asked for a breakdown of sexual offender registrants by criminal conviction, with specific interest in crimes against minors; conviction year; registration year; age; and gender.
By law, sexual offenders released from custody after October 1, 1988 must register with the Department of Public Safety (DPS). On January 6, 2006, there were 3,953 registered sex offenders whose registries were searchable from DPS' Public Website database; our source for all of the statistics in this report. Another 114 registries were not searchable because their State Police Bureau of Identification numbers are too long for the database field. For the most part, these offenders were convicted out of state but relocated to Connecticut, according to Sergeant Samuel Izzarelli, Jr., Sex Offender Registry Unit's executive officer.
In 1998, the legislature enacted the current system of sexual offender registration; which requires more offenders to register and places the onus to register on offenders rather than the agency that releases them from custody. As a result of the law change, the number of convictions triggering registration spiked from 1998 to 2000 to record highs of between 434 and 464. Of the nearly 4,000 registrants, at least 36% (over 1,400) were convicted of crimes involving minors.
Like the conviction dates, the highest number of registrants by registration year was in 1998 when 678 offenders registered and 1999 when 704 registered. Since then the number of registrants has varied from a high of 468 to a low of 353.
Registrants range in age from 17 to 91 years. The largest age group is 40 to 49, with 1,224 registrants. The vast majority (approximately 98%) of all registrants are male.
REGISTRANTS BY CRIMINAL CONVICTION
Chart 1 shows a breakdown of registrants by category of criminal conviction (i.e., the categories that trigger registration). The numbers in this chart represent the most serious offense for which a registrant was convicted. This is significant because the same person can have more than one conviction that triggers registration.
Of the 3, 953 registrants, at least 36% (1,404) were convicted of crimes involving minors. This is not an exact percentage because some registrant profiles do not indicate the nature of the offense and some that do fail to include the statutory subsection necessary for us to determine if the crime was committed against a child. Izzarelli states that prior to the registry, Judicial Department file codes included the statutory citation for sexual offenses committed without referencing the applicable subsection or subdivision. These registrants are included in Chart 1 as having committed an “unclassified offense.”
CHART 1: Registrants by Criminal Conviction
The crimes classifies as “criminal offenses against minors” and the number of registrants convicted of each are: importing child pornography (5), promoting a minor in an obscene performance (7), possessing child pornography (57), 4th degree sexual assault (88), 1st degree sexual assault (99), 2nd degree sexual assault (314), and risk of injury (853). These numbers add up to more than 1,404 (the number of offenders registered for committing a crime against a minor) because they are based on conviction rather than offender information. As stated above, a single registrant could have multiple convictions.
Although 4th degree sexual assault is defined in statute as a nonviolent offense as opposed to a crime against a minor, the DPS database shows the nonviolent offenses that were committed against minors.
REGISTRANTS BY CONVICTION DATE
By law, sexual offenders released from custody after October 1, 1988 must register regardless of when they committed the offense. Chart 2 shows the conviction date for each crime that sex offender registrants were convicted of committing. The oldest conviction dates back to 1969. As stated earlier, a single registrant could have committed more than one sex offense. In fact, Izzarelli states that roughly 17% of all registrants have multiple convictions.
CHART 2: Registrants by Conviction Years
REGISTRANTS BY REGISTRATION YEAR
As stated earlier, The Connecticut General Assembly enacted the current and more comprehensive system of sex offender registration in 1998. Under this system, non-violent sex offenders, offenders of crimes against minors, and offenders of crimes committed for a sexual purpose register for 10 years. Violent or repeat offenders and offenders who have intercourse with a minor more than two year younger and who is under age 13 register for life.
The first offenders registered in October of 1998. In 1999, the number of new registrants peeked at 704. The average number of registrants between 2000 and 2005 is 423. Chart 3 shows the number of sex offender that registered each year. Chart 3 does not show 28 offenders who are included in DPS' database and required to register but have not yet done so.
CHART 3: Registrants by Registration Year
REGISTRANTS BY GENDER
By far, most registrants are men. Just over 1.85% are women. Chart 4 shows the number of registrants by gender.
CHART 4: Registrants by Gender
REGISTRANTS BY AGE
Sex offender registrants vary in age from 17 to 91 years. More offenders are age 43 (157) than any other single age. The largest age group is between 40 and 49 (1,224). Chart 5 shows registrants by age group.
TABLE 5: Registrants by Age Group
Generally, anyone convicted or found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect of certain crimes must register with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) within three days of his release into the community. These crimes are a criminal offense against a minor, a nonviolent sexual offense (i.e., 4th degree sexual assault), a sexually violent offense, or a felony for a sexual purpose (i.e., a felony committed at least in part to engage in sexual contact or sexual intercourse with another person without consent). OLR Report 2006-R-0030 lists the crimes that trigger registration and their classifications.
However, a court may exempt an offender from the registration requirement if registration is not required for public safety and the offender (1) is under age 19 and convicted of having sexual intercourse with a victim age 13-15 (2nd Degree Sexual Assault) or (2) has sexual contact with another person without consent (4th Degree Sexual Assault).
Registrants must go to DPS Headquarters and register, on forms the commissioner has developed, his name, identifying factors, criminal history record, and residential address. Offenders convicted of a sexually violent offense must also document any treatment they received for mental abnormalities or personality disorders. If the registrant moves, he must register his new address with the commissioner, in writing, within five days. If he moves out-of-state, he must also register with the appropriate law enforcement agency if that state has a registration law.