Bad economy might mean fewer sex offenders around |

Bad economy might mean fewer sex offenders around

SUMMIT COUNTY – A stagnant economy might be causing problems for the tourist-based businesses in Summit County, but it also could be having an indirect effect on registered sex offenders – they’re moving away.

In June 2001, 22 sex offenders were registered with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. As of Feb. 12, the list indicated 11 sex offenders were registered, two of which work in Summit County but reside elsewhere.

Breckenridge, Silverthorne and Frisco each have one sex offender registered with the police departments. Two offenders were on Frisco’s list until about a year ago, when one moved away, police department staff said.

Records clerks at the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said the cost of living in a resort community makes it difficult for many people to stay, but even more so for sex offenders.

“They find it hard to work sometimes, especially if the job requires any sort of background check,” said Katie Minor, a Sheriff’s Office records clerk. “Many of them end up working for themselves – painters, contractors, things like that. It’s possible that’s why some have moved on.”

A law passed in 1991 requires those convicted of sex offenses, and those released from prison after July 1, 1991, to register annually with local city or county law enforcement agencies. That same year, Gov. Bill Owens, then a state senator, sponsored a bill making it a felony for sex offenders to fail to register. A law that went into effect in 2001 also increased from annually to quarterly the frequency with which offenders must register.

There are more than 21 crimes for which a convicted person must register as a sex offender. The crimes range in relative seriousness from rape or incest to statutory rape and sexual harassment.

Law enforcement officials at local and state levels have criticized the registry because of its lack of utility. Agencies only know about offenders who have registered, not the ones who are “underground.”

Summit County officials also said citizens who view the list (any resident can ask to see it) often assume the worst about those registered. Grandparents with children visiting sometimes ask to see the list, Miner said, as do people considering moving to the area.

Those who don’t register are the ones to worry about, said Silverthorne Police Department administrative assistant Verna Pottle.

“For the most part, the ones who register are conscientious,” Pottle said. “These are the people who have served their sentence and are following the law. And often, the crimes they committed were on the less-serious end.”

According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, 270 of the state’s 4,000 sex offenders are unaccounted for. According to the Associated Press, a survey of states found that databases of sex offenders were unable to account for 24 percent of convicts, on average.

The bureau also warns citizens that, in 80 to 95 percent of assaults, offenders knew their victims.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or

More Information

– Colorado Sex Offender Registry on the Web:

– A list of locally registered sex offenders can be obtained from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User