sex offenders

Reporter: Shannon Samson
New Media Producer: Amanda Lents

Sex offenders may have to pay for the upkeep of the indiana Sex Offender Registry.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Eric Williams believes a new measure approved by the Indiana legislature will allow him to charge offenders a user fee.

Corporal Tom Wedding spends about sixty percent of his workweek sitting at his computer adding new sex offenders to the registry and updating the addresses of the 400 or so existing ones. The other 40 percent of the time, he's out on the street verifying that information.

Cpl. Wedding says, "I think it's busier than most people realize."

The sheriff's office may have to maintain the website, but it won't have to pay for it anymore.

The sex offenders themselves will, thanks to a bill passed by Indiana legislators and now an ordinance approved by Vanderburgh County Commissioners.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Eric Williams says, "It is in classic sense a user fee."

Sheriff Williams says it's no different than the fees the county collects for accident reports and other services. When it comes to the sex offender registry, though, he does forsee one drawback. Sheriff williams: "it's another thing that may deter people from registering, but their failure to register is going to land them back in prison." shannon samson: "it's probably safe to say every single one of these sex offenders doesn't want to be on the registry, so how can the county expect them to pay for it too? sheriff williams has a simple answer for that." sheriff williams: "our society has said that you have committed a horrible crime and we're going to allow you to continue to live amongst our society, but we expect you do to certain things and this is just one of those expectations." he'll work something out with offenders who can't pay the fees. What's more important, he says, is that they stay on the registry so everyone knows who they are. The new legislation allows indiana counties to collect a 50 dollar annual fee from sex offenders and charge them five dollars every time they change their address.