FAILURE TO PROTECT

Audit prompted by KSL Investigation confirms hundreds of convicted sex offenders missing from Utah’s registry

Dec 14, 2023, 10:10 PM | Updated: 10:30 pm

An internal audit of Utah’s Sex Offender Registry not only confirmed a recent KSL Investigation t...

An internal audit of Utah’s Sex Offender Registry not only confirmed a recent KSL Investigation that found convicted sex offenders missing from the registry, but revealed the number of people who did not appear on the registry is higher than we initially knew. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — An internal audit of Utah’s Sex Offender Registry confirmed what a recent KSL investigation uncovered: more than 100 convicted sex offenders were missing from the registry.

For over a year, the KSL Investigators reviewed Utah’s registry, cross-referencing it with public records from Utah’s parole board, online court records, inmate databases, and information gathered by knocking on doors in several neighborhoods.

While people with criminal convictions that require them to be on the registry do sometimes attempt to skirt the law, the KSL Investigators found many were in compliance and did register, but the state failed to publish their profiles for the public to see.

Utah law tasks the Department of Corrections with maintaining the registry.

“This is important information that needs to be accurate,” said Utah Department of Corrections Executive Director Brian Redd during a recent interview with the KSL Investigators. “And we’re committed to that.”

Utah Department of Corrections Executive Director Brian Redd participates in an interview with the KSL Investigators in November 2023

Utah Department of Corrections Executive Director Brian Redd participates in an interview with the KSL Investigators in November 2023. (KSL TV, Josh Szymanik)

In response to questions from the KSL Investigators and concerns raised during a legislative hearing in September, Redd ordered an internal audit of the registry.

The results of the audit revealed the number of people who were not appearing on the public side of the online registry was higher than initially known.

That audit found that “6% of individuals who should have been published were not,” which means the information of hundreds of offenders was accessible to law enforcement but not the public.

While the number of people on Utah’s registry fluctuates, on one day this week, the department said there were 8,279 total registered offenders in Utah. Six percent of that number comes out to nearly 500 people.

In response to findings by the KSL Investigators, corrections officials explained an administrative backlog was causing the delays in making offender profiles available to the public.

A department spokesperson noted Thursday that work to update the registry and publish all offenders is ongoing, and “good progress” has been made since the audit was conducted in October.

Redd said it appears the registry unit was underfunded. The audit noted workload challenges and staff retention issues were contributing factors. It also found the unit prioritized completing a multi-step process to verify offenders’ information over publishing their entries.

A current workflow chart shared with the KSL Investigators notes several steps of confirmation and review are required in some cases before an offender’s profile can be published on the registry.

The current process Utah's Department of Corrections uses to verify and publish the information of people with criminal convictions that require them to be on the registry.

The current process Utah’s Department of Corrections uses to verify and publish the information of people with criminal convictions that require them to be on the registry. (Courtesy: Utah Department of Corrections)

“Do we need to add more resources? Do we need to change processes? Do we need to streamline? We’re looking at all of those things right now,” said Redd.

The audit did not determine how long there has been a backlog, but the KSL Investigators’ findings indicate people have been missing from the registry for more than a year. We first approached the Department of Corrections with a list of names of people potentially missing from the registry in July 2022.

At the time, nothing changed. The KSL Investigators continued working to independently verify that offenders were missing, and more than a year later, confirmed many names on the initial list provided to corrections officials should have appeared on the registry.

Dan Blanchard, former Director of the Utah Department of Corrections Adult Probation and Parole Division, previously told the KSL Investigators that a thorough check of the list we provided in 2022 is “something that [the department] should have done at the time.”

“We’re focused on moving forward and getting it right,” said Redd, who was appointed to his role in May of this year.

“It’s important for the public to know that we care that this registry is accurate, that the staff that work on this registry care it’s accurate, and it’s my responsibility to make sure they have the resources, the training, the support to get that done,” Redd told the KSL Investigators.

He confirmed in order to address the backlog, the department has hired four temporary part-time employees to assist the registry unit in getting caught up.

“We’re committed to getting every single individual that should be on the registry on the registry,” Redd said.

Later this year, the job of maintaining the registry is set to move from the Department of Corrections to the Department of Public Safety. Redd said he intends to turn over a registry that is up to date.


Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

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Audit prompted by KSL Investigation confirms hundreds of convicted sex offenders missing from Utah’s registry