Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Sex Offenders/Offenses


What is the difference between a predator and an offender?

A sexual predator is a person who was convicted of a serious crime against a minor (under 16 years of age) or an adult, and who has been declared to be a "sexual predator" by the Attorney General's Office. Most sexual predators in South Carolina remain under the supervision of the Department of Mental Health and are confined to the Department of Corrections (Edisto Facility). Those sexual predators who are no longer incarcerated are required to register with the local Sheriff's Office every 90 days under the provision of SC Code 23-3-460.

The sexual offender designation applies to any sex offense listed in SC Code 23-3-430, regardless of the date the offense was committed.

How does Law Enforcement keep up-to-date on where sexual predators/offenders live once they leave jail?

1 - Before an offender's release from the Department of Corrections (DOC) after completion of the term of imprisonment, from the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) after completion of the term of confinement, or being placed on parole, SLED, based upon information provided by DOC, DJJ, DJJ Parole Board, or the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services (PPP), shall notify the sheriff of the county where the offender intends to reside that the offender is being released and has provided an address within the jurisdiction of the sheriff for that county. The DOC, DJJ, DJJ Parole Board, and PPP shall provide verbal and written notification to the offender that he/she must register with the sheriff of the county in which he/she intends to reside within one business day of his/her release.

2 - Sexual predators/offenders must report any address change in writing to the sheriff's office within 10 days of that address change. These changes will be electronically submitted to SLED who shall update their data and the website.

There is a sexual predator/offender in our area that I believe is still coming in contact with children. What should I do?

If the situation needs to be addressed immediately, please call the Richland County Sheriff's Department at (803) 576-3000. Otherwise, the Sheriff's Office Sexual Offender Registry Unit can be contacted at (803) 576-3072 during normal business hours and they will investigate the matter.

The SLED web page has the wrong address for a sexual predator/offender. What should I do?

Contact the Richland County Sheriff's Department Sex Offender Registry Unit at (803) 576-3072 and provide any pertinent information you may have regarding the offender's address. The SOR Unit will verify the address change and make the necessary corrections.

Are all predators/offenders violent?

No. To be classified as a sexual predator/offender, one could have been convicted of any number of crimes (see SC Code 23-3-430). Some crimes involve physical violence, and some don't. However, all are deemed by the court, based on previous behaviors, to represent a potential threat to certain persons (especially persons under the age of 16).

There is a sex offender living across from the school in our neighborhood. Can he/she do that?

Yes. There are no restrictions to where a sexual predator/offender may live. However, PPP may have placed restrictions on an offender who is still on probation and under the supervision of PPP. Current legislation is pending that would restrict offenders from living within 1000' of a school, daycare center, playground, or public park. If passed, that legislation will become effective upon the Governor's signature.

Are there any restrictions on where a sex offender can work?

Yes. If the offender has been convicted of an offense involving children as the victim, the offender is prohibited from working where he/she may come in contact with children (school, daycare center, nursery, etc).

Can a convicted sex offender get married?


Can a convicted sex offender vote?

An offender can vote if he/she reregisters upon completion of his/her sentence and any probation and or parole.

Can our neighborhood association send a flyer out to residents with information on a sex offender who lives in our neighborhood?

Even though the information on the sex offender registry is open to the public, it is not recommended that flyers be disseminated or posted identifying a single offender. SC Code 23-3-510 precludes anyone from committing a criminal offense using sex offender registry information. Disseminating a flyer or targeting a single offender could be considered harassment.

What can you as a citizen do?

Educate yourself and your loved ones. Review the safety recommendations in this guide. Know your neighbors. Be familiar with the locations of offenders/predators in your neighborhood. If you see suspicious activity, call the Richland County Sheriff's Department at (803) 576-3000. Stay informed. Staying aware/alert alleviates fear of the unknown.

Myths and Facts about Sex Offenders

5623 Two Notch Road 
Columbia, South Carolina 29223 
(803) 576-3000 phone (803) 576-3195 fax

Copyright 2006 Richland County Sheriff's Department