Yesterday, we published an article about a study by a company called A Secure Life that showed that Oregon has the fewest sex offenders per capita in the entire country. Great news, right?
But soon after the article was published, a reader brought it to our attention that other, more comprehensive studies have shown that Oregon is actually the worst state for sex offenders in the nation, not the best. According to the most recent data from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Oregon has 679 sex offenders per million people, the highest per capita rate in the country. Oregon has a grand total of over 28,000 throughout the state.
Asked why the data was so misleading in the study we originally cited, A Secure Life representative Amy Dominguez told the Mercury that their data they used only pulled publicly viewable predator profiles. In Oregon, publicly viewable profiles are limited to level three sex offenders—those who are considered “predatory sex offenders” by the state. “Family Watchdog was pulling a restricted and consequently smaller list of offenders who are visible to the public. We are in the process of fixing our report,” Dominguez said.
We have since deleted the misleading article, and are providing this more accurate data for you instead. Turns out, Oregon is chock full of sex offenders—our 679 per million is way higher than the national average of 274 per million.
Of course, a lot of people have problems with the whole concept of a sex offender registry. Teens who share nude photos can end up on the registry for life for disseminating child pornography, even if the teen only shared photos of himherself. The American Civil Liberties Union argues that sex offender registries can isolate sex offenders from resources that could help them, making them more likely to relapse and making communities less safe.
Perhaps the differences between the states has to do with Oregon's sex offender registration laws—in our state, only "predatory" sex offenders are listed in the public registry, and they're listed for life. Non-violent offenders can get removed from the state registry with a petition after 10 years. Other states register sex criminals of all stripes, including 18-year-old high schoolers who have consensual sex with their high school-aged girlfriends.
You can look up sex offenders in your area here.