METAIRIE, La. – Nearly 4,500 registered sex offenders lived in the 14 parishes hit by Hurricane Katrina. They probably left their home parish, and may have left the state in the storm's evacuation.
The seven with the worst damage and the most people displaced by the hurricane and flooding include 3,300 of those offenders, according to the Louisiana State Police sex offender registry.
Florida requires certain registered sex offenders to ride out a hurricane in jail, but Louisiana has no policy in regard to sex offenders during hurricanes or evacuations. That means those registered in the system could end up in shelters or communities across Louisiana and in other states.
"There's no statute in Louisiana to require them to be reincarcerated," Capt. Jerry Patrick of the Louisiana State Police told The News-Star of Monroe.
Shelters and communities that take in evacuees can check people's names against the state or national sex offender registry, and should use available state and national resources if they have concerns, he said.