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Sex offenders in Lorain County have registered addresses at stores, malls

Posted at 11:57 AM, Mar 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-16 12:56:20-04

Some Lorain County parents are demanding changes in Ohio law they believe will improve the accuracy of sex offender registries across the state.

One parent, whose daughter was sexually assaulted by registered sex offender in 2015, told News 5 the accuracy of addresses for sex offenders in the registry is critical to maximizing its impact.

Parents pointed to a few sex offenders listed in the Lorain County registry, who had home addresses listed at the Walmart in Elyria, and the food court entrance at Midway Mall.

Shawn Brown is a father, who has some registered offenders living in his neighborhood.

Brown believes changes in Ohio law are needed to allow Sheriff's Deputies to have the latitude needed to require sex offenders list a more permanent address if they claim they are homeless.

"Midway Malls food court, I mean oh my God," said Brown.

"How can this be your address, for real?  You live in the parking lot?  Is that allowed?"

"You have to have some kind of address, whether it be a homeless shelter, or even a church, or something."

Deputy Deborah Hurlburt, who plays a key role in verify the address of sex offenders on the Lorain County sex offender registry, understands why some residents are concerned.

Hurlburt's sex offender unit is in charge a verifying the locations of more than 500 sex offenders countywide.

It's a unit that goes beyond the mandated annual address checks for sex offenders, and it gets the job done with just two deputies on staff.

Hurlburt agrees more should be done when it comes to listing addresses for offenders who claim to be homeless, but she said state law limits what deputies can require when an offender comes in to register.

"Unless I can prove you're not homeless, there's not a whole lot we can do on that aspect," said Hurlburt.

"I would agree that state law needs to be reviewed, and let's work on this homeless issue, yes."