Ohio offers online sex offender reverse search - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Ohio offers online sex offender reverse search

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

Ohioans now have access to a website allowing them to check unfamiliar phone numbers, email addresses, social media screen names, and video game handles to determine if they belong to a registered sex offender in Ohio.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association have unveiled the new reverse lookup feature accessible through the Electronic Sex Offender Registration and Notification (eSORN) Database.

Registered sex offenders in Ohio are required by law to register their home address, work address, and vehicle information with their local sheriff's office to be publicly accessible through the eSORN database.

Each of Ohio's 88 county sheriff offices input the information into the system. Supplemental information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, screen names, and handles are also required, but are not public.

The reverse lookup feature allows members of the public to input phone numbers, email addresses and internet names into the eSORN database and an alert will be displayed if the information is associated with a registered sex offender.

While the reverse lookup feature will not publically identify the offender who registered the information, it will direct the individual to immediately contact the local sheriff's office or the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). Each sheriff's office will decide the next step.

"Each local sheriff's office will take the information that is provided and determine what type of follow up investigation is needed," said Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer, the Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association SORN Committee Chairman. "If the information you enter does not come back to a registered sex offender, it doesn't necessarily mean that the person behind the phone number, email, or social media name is harmless. Parents still need to be cautious about who their kids are talking to in general."

There are nearly 18,000 registered sex offenders living in Ohio.

The Attorney General's Crimes Against Children Unit assisted 73 law enforcement agencies last year in 125 cases involving crimes against children.

Ohio is one of only eight states that offers this new sex offender reverse lookup feature.

The eSORN database can be accessed via the Attorney General's website or through the website of all 88 county sheriff's offices.

A link is available on the Ohio Attorney General website which can be found here.

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