9 Investigates: Some info not listed online for sex offenders from other states

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are growing -- that's no secret.

So are the numbers of registered sex offenders here, and that's hardly surprising.

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office said there are more than 900 sex offenders registered in Mecklenburg County after five years of steady increases.

What is surprising is that some of those sex offenders have moved to the area with pasts shrouded in mystery.

Eyewitness News discovered that sex offenders moving from other states do not have some critical information listed online, like the specific crimes they committed and the ages of their victims.

That comes as a surprise even to some sex offenders themselves.

"I thought I was going about as far as I could now and still be legal. Turns out I'd gone too far," Charles Knight told Eyewitness News about the child pornography police found on his computer in 2008.  He spent more than two years in prison and, after he was released, moved back to a condominium in south Charlotte.

His registration online says simply that he was a federal prisoner who had registered because of a conviction out of state, and that surprised him.

"I'm surprised the registry doesn't list that because I gave them all of the information about my pornography," Knight said.

Knight gave that information to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office when he registered, but the sheriff said they don't decide what information is posted online.

"That's not our decision.  That's the decision that's made by the state registry," said Sheriff Chipp Bailey.

Bailey said the state may not want that information posted because charges vary from state to state and could be confusing.

Congress tried to clear up that confusion in 2006 when they passed the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act to standardize registration procedures from state to state.

But six years later, North Carolina is one of many states not complying with the law.

"I'm surprised by that," said Rep. Beverly Earle, a state representative from Charlotte.

A bill to address the issues in complying with the federal law died in committee in 2011, and Earle promised to bring the matter up again.

"I assure you that when we go back we will take a look at it. I will be involved," Earle said.

The legislature is set to reconvene in January.