Under Illinois law, families researching nursing homes are directed to search a state police Web site for critical information about sex offenders living in the facilities. The Chicago Tribune found that only 59 of the 192 sex offenders in Illinois nursing homes — or fewer than one in three — were listed on that online state registry.
The shortfall is especially acute in Chicago, where fewer than one in five sex offenders in nursing homes were posted on the state police Web site, the Tribune found. Part of the problem is a gap in the law: Although some sex offenders can remain dangerous for decades if unmonitored and untreated, many are no longer required to register with police if their convictions or final parole dates occurred more than 10 years ago. State investigators have documented more than a dozen instances since 2007 in which nursing homes failed to notify local law enforcement that they housed a convicted sex offender, as required by law, or failed to implement care plans to monitor and treat sex offenders inside the facilities, the Tribune found. In some cases those offenders allegedly went on to molest vulnerable residents and even staff, according to state public health reports.