As many as 287 registered sex offenders from Louisiana may be in Houston, but local authorities don’t know where to find them, says Police Chief Harold Hurtt. “It’s a concern for all of us who need to know and want to know who’s living next door,” the Houston Chronicle quotes Hurtt as saying. Earlier this week, state officials received names of registered Louisiana sex offenders who sought federal disaster assistance in Texas after Hurricane Katrina, ending a weeks-old standoff with federal officials. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had refused to provide the list, citing federal privacy laws.
State officials are in the process of giving local law enforcement agencies the names and last known addresses of the displaced registered sex offenders. Hurtt said gathering information on any suspected, displaced sexual offenders will be difficult. Katrina may have damaged records needed to track down any offender now in Houston. “It is the responsibility of the sex offender to register, and each time they move to re-register, and if they don’t do that, it’s pretty hard for us to track people,” Hurtt said. “It’s going to be a long process.”