Knoxville (WVLT) - "I think it's important if we're gonna have a registry that when people look at the sex offender registry they can be assured that it's complete," says State Senator Doug Jackson. He's trying to pass a bill to close a loophole that could allow a sex offender to live in your neighborhood, without you even knowing.
"If you're on a sex offender registry in any state, regardless of your date of conviction when you move to Tennessee you have to register."
Under the current law, if you committed a sex crime before July 1997, your whereabouts are only known by law enforcement. Jackson wants the registry entirely open to the public, and State Senator Tim Burchett agrees.
"I think anything we can do to protect our children, and child molesters are the lowest scum there are," says Burchett.
According to the TBI, 9,843 sex offenders are registered in Tennessee. But less than half of those are on the registry, where online you'll only find 4,496 names. That means almost 5,000 registered sex offenders do not appear on the registry, and could be your next door neighbor.
"What ends up happening is the child molesters come in to Tennessee because of the loopholes in the law, and hopefully we will tighten it up and Tennessee won't be attractive to those people," says Burchett, who thinks Tennessee can financially afford the bill.
"I say we can't afford to let another kid suffer to bear the indignity and shame of having that for the rest of their lives."
Click on the following link to visit the Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry.