CIMIP Presents Preliminary Research Findings
Sex Offender Study in Full Swing
Written By Barbara Stack
Research co-authors present at ACS Conference
Utica, NY (11/09/2009)- Donald Rebovich, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Identity Management and Information Protection (CIMIP) of Utica College, along with co-author Dr. James Byrne from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, presented preliminary findings from one of CIMIP’s current research grants at the annual American Society of Criminology Conference in Philadelphia. Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice, the Sex Offender Authentication Research Project presentation also included project researchers Dr. Kyung-Seok Choo, Dr. April Pattavina and Dr. Andrew Harris from University of Massachusetts, Lowell.
The purpose of the project is to empirically address the problem of the obfuscation of identities by registered sex offenders to avoid the registration tracking systems that offenders must comply with. There is a growing concern that a significant number of offenders are using the availability of “new” identities to effectively “hide in plain sight” from authorities. This project is dedicated to the analysis of the scope of this problem, the identification of offenders who have successfully manipulated their identities, and the most common methods used by offenders to hide their identities. Co-authors Rebovich and Byrne presented preliminary findings from initial data received from site visits to California, Florida, Connecticut and Ohio in their presentation “Blending In by Moving Out: The CIMIP Sex Offender Authentication Research Project.”
Choo presented an introduction to the first phase of the CIMIP study in his discussion “Surveying Sex Offender Registration/Monitoring Agencies: Problems of “Missing” Sex Offenders.” He discussed how project researchers are collecting, analyzing and reporting on all available data to the extent to which registered sex offenders use false identities, false identifiers, and/or false identification documents to avoid legally imposed registration and notice requirements as required by the Adam Walsh Act. The presentation focused on a national survey of state sexual offender registration programs to achieve a preliminary assessment of strategies that are currently being used to track and report on registered sex offenders, the problems associated with achieving the programs’ organizational goals and the size and scope of the problem of “lost” offenders in the current tracking system.
In the presentation ”Studying Characteristics of Sex Offenders “Missing” from Registration/Monitoring Systems,” Pattavina and Harris discussed the analysis of federal and state sex offender databases, with the focus on those offenders who are listed “missing” and those who manipulate their identities to avoid detection. The discussion primarily focused on the differences between the sex offenders who are registered and stay “visible” as opposed to those who are “lost” in the system. Also included was an explanation of the data collection methods being utilized to determine the distribution of the characteristics of those who are “lost.” The researchers are focusing on offender profession, severity of crime, type of crime, geographic location, education, ethnicity, age, methods of absconding, methods of identity obfuscation and amount of time the offender has been able to avoid registration. The presentation also explained the strategies that assisted in the discovery of patterns of offenders who use a “temporary” identity to a final “permanent” identity.