Sex offenders off the radar of law enforcement and parents

By: Zach Crenshaw

Updated:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The majority of sex offenders in downtown Memphis do not show up on the sex offender registry map. The reason is that 85% of the offenders in 38103 told the Memphis Police Department they are homeless.

Some of the men and women have been convicted of assaulting kids and violent rapes.

Ray Arcutt is a registered violent sex offender, his address on the TBI’s website is listed as 934 Bruce.

The only problem, he has not lived there in years.

“We bought this house two years ago,” said the homeowner, who did not want to go on camera.

Ray has a more recent warrant though, issued in July 2017 for offender violations. The address listed there is 1773 Evelyn. Arcutt was not there either.

“He's not here anymore,” said Dixie White.

“Has he had a home lately?” asked FOX13’s Zach Crenshaw.

“Not that I know of. He's living under a bridge somewhere,” she replied.

Arcutt’s former friend told FOX13 that Ray is now homeless, but said he is still committing crimes.

“He is a big-time thief, and a liar,” said White. “He stole one of my lawnmowers and post hole diggers.”

He is also accused of taking one woman's $800 road bike to fix it, but never returning it.

Despite the warrant, and Arcutt being a suspect in at least one robbery, police have not found him. That is a major problem, because they are supposed to know his whereabouts.

State law requires sex offenders who are homeless to check in once a month, which is more frequently than regular offenders.

While Arcutt does have an address listed, he has not checked in since June – and he is far from alone.

Cross reference even a few of the alleged homeless sex offenders with the Shelby County warrants website and you will find inconsistencies.

Multiple offenders who are listed as homeless on the TBI registry have actual addresses on more recently issued warrants in Shelby County.

If you try to map them though on the TBI's website, none of them will show up.

There is an industry best practice though. The Tennessee Department of Corrections, in charge of monitoring all the offenders on probation and parole out of prison, uses real time monitoring.

“We use GPS monitoring to track them. We track them 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said John Parker, the Probation and Parole Administrator for the TN Department of Corrections.

It costs $2.75 each day to monitor an offender. If you take the 160 homeless offenders in just one zip code.

“It can at times be expensive and require a lot of resources,” said Parker.

It would mean homeless offenders would easily be located at all times, and parents would be able to look them up on the TBI's website.

Right now, no homeless offenders show up on the map.

We tried repeatedly to talk to the Memphis Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff's Office about the issues with the database and inconsistencies. Neither department's sex offender unit would go on-camera.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation told FOX13 they maintain the registry website, but said it is up to local law enforcement to update addresses and offender information.

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A variety of issues exist, and FOX13 discovered address discrepancies between the TBI website and Shelby County warrants.

There are also addresses listed for certain offenders that are not homes. One offender had his primary residence as a law office. Another said he lived at the Double Tree Hotel on Union Avenue.

Homeless sex offenders are supposed to check in with probation officers once a month, but many of them do not, which leads to offenders breaking the law and going unmonitored.

"That's the worst thing we can have, a homeless sex offender. So we try to move them,” said John Parker, the Probation and Parole Administrator for the TN Department of Corrections.

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