According to the law, those who are convicted of a sex crime are required to register with local law enforcement in the county of which they live, work, volunteer, attend school or own property.
Zachary's Law was established in honor of Zachary Snider, a 10-year-old from Cloverdale, who was molested and murdered by a neighbor -- Christopher Stevens -- who had previously been convicted of child molesting.
Stevens was initially sentenced to death in the case. However, Stevens' death penalty sentence has since been modified to life in prison.
Currently, according to www.icrimewatch.net, Clay County has 56 registered offenders, including nine sexually violent predators, 18 sex offenders and 28 offenders against children. Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton added as of Friday, there were nine registered offenders locked up at the Clay County Justice Center, seven of which are registered and two dealing with pending charges.
"(The registered offenders) all could have been arrested for anything at this time," Heaton said. "But when they're in jail, most of the time, we put them in protective custody because of the nature of their defense, they are a target by other inmates."
Each offender must, according to law, meet with law enforcement each year to re-register.
They can come in before the year is up," Heaton said, "but if they come in after, that's a violation."
Heaton added those who must register have to pay an annual fee when doing so.
"Some of it goes to (the sheriff's department) and some goes to the state," Heaton said, adding the fee is $50 each year, with an additional $5 for an address change.
There are four types of offenders pertaining to the law. As well as the other three, the fourth offense includes violent offenders.
Each offender faces two registration periods, including 10 years or lifetime.
The registry includes the name of the offender, status, registration start date, registration end date, whether they received a 10-year registration or lifetime, physical descriptions, the offender's address, and offenses.
According to officials, some offenders -- such as sexually violent predators -- must register every 90 days. In addition, if a sexually violent predator moves to a different location, they have three days to notify law enforcement. In addition, offenders who move from county to county must re-register after the move.
"We don't take (offenders off the registry) until we're notified," Heaton said. "(The law) is pretty specific. If they fail to register after moving, they could face charges from both counties."
The Clay County Sheriff's Department has one dedicated officer who handles the sex offender's registry. Dep. Benny Boes deals meets with offenders on a constant basis. He has been handling this duty since 2007.
Not only do offenders meet with Boes, but he also regularly conducts checkups on them.
A packet of information on each offender is kept at the sheriff's department. Each offender also receives a packet of information provided by the state, which details what he or she can and cannot do.
"They can't use the defense, 'Well, I didn't know,'" Heaton said.
Heaton said it could be difficult for people on the register.
"They have that stigma," he said. "But it's just the same as a person who has been arrested for drugs."
When dealing with cases of a sexual nature, Heaton said it is difficult, not only for the victim, but for law enforcement.
"You have to show restraint," Heaton said. "It's sickening. It's disheartening. We do everything we can. We're always concerned about victims' safety. If (someone) violates, they're going to get arrested."
Clay County has a total of 56 registered sex offenders, all of which appear in today's newspaper, on pages 3, 8 and 9.
When comparing Clay County's Sex Offender Registry to other counties of like size, there is not much of a difference.
For example, Greene County also has 56 registered offenders, while Owen County has 43. Putnam County has 54 and Parke County has 34.
In contrast, however, Vigo County has 244 registered sex offenders.