Portland police Officer Bridget Sickon teamed up with Detective Cheryl Waddell this spring to track down Jere V. Ryder, a predatory sex offender who hadn’t registered with the state since 2002. After a quick read of his rap sheet, they considered him especially dangerous: convicted of raping a woman at knifepoint in 1974. A month after he was paroled in 1981, he was arrested for burglary, caught with high school files on 140 Portland teenage girls. The officers tapped into computer databases and found him at a job in Tualatin. They arrested him there in May.
Yet their work wasn’t enough to keep him behind bars. He was released from jail June 12, three days after he was indicted on four counts of failure to register with the state. A month later, police say the 49-year-old man attacked a woman at knifepoint in the Oregon Zoo parking lot.
His case illustrates some of the biggest challenges law enforcement faces when trying to find and then prosecute unregistered sex offenders who flout state law. Lawmakers say Ryder illustrates why the sex offender registration requirements and penalties need to be strengthened.