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Task force targeting unregistered sex offenders in Maricopa County

LISTEN: Task force targeting unregistered sex offenders in Maricopa County

PHOENIX — They’re hiding in your neighborhood. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) will announce they’ve identified nearly 200 unregistered sex offenders flying under the radar in Phoenix-area communities.

In an exclusive interview with KTAR News, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery reports about half of those cases have been resolved.

“People who have harmed children in the past, we want to make sure they do not do it again,” Montgomery said. “And there are laws in place that are specifically designed to help reduce recidivism and the threat to the public.”

A multi-agency task force targeted every known sex offender convicted in Maricopa County who failed to register as far back as 1999. The unit located and re-arrested many of the unregistered sex offenders in a sting operation over the last few months.

“One of the reasons why there is such a low recidivism rate for sex offenders as a class of offender is because they are so heavily monitored,” he said.

Offenses include molestation, sex assault, sexual conduct with a minor, child prostitution and child pornography, according to MCAO.

“In this instance where we know someone has failed to follow the registration requirements,” he said, “that then is a huge red flag to us that [the] person may represent an imminent threat to harm another child.”

Failing to register as a sex offender is a Class 4 felony. MCAO reports indicate some offenders were found living near schools, or working as contractors which allowed access to people’s homes.

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