State Senator Plans to Address Hole in Law for Sex Offender Registry

LITTLE ROCK, AR - According to law enforcement, Jacob J. Taylor changed his name in 2008, once he had discharged his four-year prison sentence for sexual assault. 

But he was convicted as Carlos Norwood, and he appears on the sex offender registry as a Level 3 offender with that name. Searching for Jacob J. Taylor gives you no results. 

Other states, like Tennessee, disclose known aliases or other names on public sex offender search pages. 

But the Arkansas manager for the sex offender registry told us that state law does not give the registry authority to publish aliases or legal name changes. According to the registry, whoever the offender was when they were convicted is who they remain in the master registry file. Law enforcement can all see the name, but it can't be published on the public page where people would look to search for offenders. 

The public has a right to know, and they should know it. It shouldn't matter if they [the offender] change their name. It shouldn't matter whether it's legally or maybe referring to themselves as something different. An alias should come up and previous names should come up," said State Senator David Sanders. 

Some lawmakers, like State Senator Sanders, believe it should be an easy fix in 2015 to better serve the purpose of public safety. 

"When you have situations like the one you uncovered, along with the Little Rock Parole office, public safety is not being served. It's incumbent on us to make sure we have rules, regulations and laws right to make sure they serve public safety," he said. "It's important we know the law, because I can assure you the criminal element in our society understands and comprehends the letter and its intent. There will be those who always look for ways to get around that."

State Senator Sanders said this issue, along with others dealing with inter-agency communication will all be touched on in the legislative session come 2015. 

"There's going to be an overall approach we take in the 2015 session looking at transparency, information that is able to be shared under current law and current regulation. And this certainly deserves our attention," he said.

Taylor did have to answer to both Little Rock Police Sex Offender investigators and Department of Community Corrections (DCC) parole officers. 

According to DCC, not all of the agencies have the capability to share all information they have in the system. DCC Deputy Director Dina Tyler told us it's a priority to eventually reach the point where information can be shared with all agencies electronically, but it's a matter of finding resources to make a sharing system with various security levels possible. 

Taylor is currently being held at Pulaski County Jail on a hold for parole violations, an arrest that occurred due to allegations raised in our report. He will go before a parole revocation board to determine if he will be sent back to prison.

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