When Stephanie Rudisill used a contractor for her home, she was surprised to find out upon later research the man she let into her home was a registered sex offender.
He did not offend Rudisill in any way personally, and her one-year-old son was not harmed in any way, but it was shocking that she did not know about the contractor's past, and she was surprised employers were not required to tell their clients.
Sex offenders listed on the Maryland sex offender registry are able to perform any job that is not full-time employment in a school or daycare, according to Sgt. Brad Brown at the Carroll County Sheriff's Office.
The Carroll County Sheriff's Office has been handling casework for sex offenders since July 2011. Brown said he sees a mixture of white collar and blue collar workers who are previous sex offenders. He said he has those on the sex offender registry work in places ranging from fast food to computer IT.
Following contracting, the food services are most likely to employ sex offenders in Carroll County. The auto industry also has a fair amount, from mechanics, to parts and car sales clerks. Sex offenders must disclose their employment address, which is listed on the registry. Those whose employments had an address in a shopping mall with many stores were listed as "Unable to Identify."
"It is a bit of hurdle for some employers to get over that conviction of hiring a sex offender," Brown said. "However, the thing is, if they can do the job and are not a danger to anyone at the business and the public in general, then why not?"
There are 203 registered sex offenders in Carroll County, with the most sexual offenders residing in Westminster zip codes. Westminster has 58 sex offenders, while 35 live in the 21136 zip code, which overlaps between Baltimore and Carroll counties in Reisterstown. Taneytown has 23, and Sykesville has 20 sex offenders who live in the area.
Most sex offenders listed on the sex offender registry are unemployed, according to data collected from the Maryland Sex Offender Registry. The second most popular profession is contracting, whether that be constructing, landscaping, welding or the like.
If a person is convicted of a crime that involves a sex offense, they are added to the registry. Prior to 2010, fourth-degree sex offenses and possession of child pornography did not necessarily mean a person would get onto the sex offender list, said Amy Ocampo, child abuse prosecutor with the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office. The judge had discretion prior to a 2010 law. Now, any sex offense will get a person onto the sex offender registry if convicted, Ocampo said.
"A lot of people think that the registry acts the same as probation; that it's really meant to restrict what they can and can't do," she said. "It's really more so with public notification."