DHI Media Staff Report

VAN WERT -- Deputies with the Van Wert County Sheriff's Office have completed a random address verification on all 48 registered sex offenders in Van Wert County. Sheriff Thomas M. Riggenbach stated that Ohio law requires all sex offenders to register with the Sheriff on a scheduled periodic basis to verify address, employment, school affiliation, telephone numbers, vehicles, and Internet identifiers. The frequency of in-person verification depends on the level of sex offender classification assigned -- every 90 days, every 180 days, or once per year. The law also requires notification if any basic information changes.

The checks were completed between June 23-26. Deputies visited the addresses in person of all 48 offenders in the county. All of the offenders were in compliance with their registration requirements.

According to Riggenbach, the verification checks performed by deputies are authorized by the State of Ohio, but are not required. This marks the fourth time random address verifications of registered sex offenders in this county have been conducted within the past 16 months. During that period, one offender has been prosecuted for failing to register a change of address in a timely fashion.

"(This) office will continue to take the extra steps of random address verification as a matter of public safety to assure an offender's compliance to make it clear that there is zero tolerance for non-compliance," said Riggenbach in a release. "(This) office will continue to investigate and prosecute any registered sex offender who fails to meet their legally required sex offender registration requirements."

The Sheriff's Office maintains a Sex Offender page on the Van Wert County Sheriff's Office website. Residents can learn about Ohio sex offender laws and search for sex offenders living in their neighborhood or any other area they may be interested in. Residents can also register to receive automatic emails from the Sheriff's Office anytime an offender's address changes by between one-quarter of a mile to two miles. Currently just over seven percent of county residents are signed up to receive automated email updates on offenders.