Oct 8, 2014 8:24 PM

How sex offenders can register in NH with no address


CONCORD - It is a known fact that sex offenders are everywhere and they are required by law to register with local authorities as to where they're living.

But here in New Hampshire, a convicted sex offender does not have to list an actual permanent address.

It's not a state loop.

People who don't have a place to call home, the homeless, can simply register as "homeless."

Several members of a homeless camp were kicked off a grassy area off Storrs Street in Concord over the weekend. Why? They were living on state-owned land and in New Hampshire, that's against the law.

On Wednesday, some of those who lived at the camp sat on the steps of the State House as they spoke with NH1.

"We all took care of each other," said Michael Davis. "I mean if someone didn't have something, the other one did. If someone got sick, we took care of him."

Davis is not only homeless but he's also a convicted sex offender.

"I feel like I'm a minority for several reasons," he said. "One because I'm homeless and the other's because I'm a registered sex offender."

Officially, Davis is registered as one of the sex offenders living in a tent behind Storrs Street. It's an address he can no longer call home.

But NH1 wanted to know if it's legal to register at a place like "a tent behind a street?"

According to State and Concord Police, the answer is "yes."

"So what we expect if someone is homeless, we want them to tell us where they're homeless," said Lt. Timothy O'Malley of the Concord Police Department. "We want them to tell us where they're homeless so if they're living or residing and if they're residing in a car in a particular parking lot, we want to know that."

According to the New Hampshire Department of Public safety, 170 registered sex offenders live in Concord and six of them say they're homeless.

Some of them have even registered their address, like Davis, as "living in a tent." Some said they "live in a car."

But NH1 wanted to know how police can track someone down if their address is listed as a tent or a car?

"If they have a location where they are homeless, we expect them to list that on their form and that way when we send our officers out to check on and follow-up on these addresses or locations, we expect that they're either going to be there or at some point we'll find them there and confirm that is where they are staying," said Lt. O'Malley.

As for the homeless in general here in New Hampshire, The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union sued the state last year but soon after, a Superior Court judge ruled that the homeless have no legal right to camp on state-owned land.

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union told NH1:

"What these evictions highlight is that many New Hampshire citizens are experiencing homelessness and severe poverty. Like those evicted, many live in outdoor places that are shielded from public view and are struggling to survive as the cold winter months approach. Many have nowhere else to go because there are few emergency shelters available to the homeless in Concord. Criminalizing homelessness is not a solution to poverty. Nor can New Hampshire afford to sweep homelessness out of sight. Doing so pushes the poor further into the margins of society."

As for Davis, he has until Friday to re-register with a new address.

Right now, he says, the future looks bleak.
"I feel like I'm caught in a vicious circle because if I do register it, they come and bother me and If I don't register it, they charge me with failure to comply and then they charge me with a criminal charge," he said.

Any sexual offender who doesn't register with the state can face a felony charge.


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