South Dakota Has Unusually High Population of Sex Offenders

Listomaniac WalletHub throws a bunch of numbers in a pot and figures that South Dakota ranks 43rd among states for “safety”, a construct of crime, financial security, highway calamity, owies at work, and climate disasters. Even greater danger zones are Montana, Arkansas, Missouri, South Caroline, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The safest five states are Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Hampshire.

Out of all those data points, one jumps out at me this morning: WalletHub says South Dakota has more sex offenders relative to population than all but three other states. Mashing up numbers from Parents for Megan’s Law with Census data agrees: only Delaware, Wisconsin, and Oregon have higher rates of sex offenders among their populations. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children disagrees, saying five states out-perv us:

downloaded from, 2017.06.06.
downloaded from, 2017.06.06.

How does small-town, family-values, great-place-to-raise-kids South Dakota end up with a higher concentration of sex offenders than dens of sin like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, and Nevada, all of which have offender-per-population rates right by  (California, Illinois) or below (the rest) the national rate?

These stats count registered sex offenders, so you could argue that South Dakota is just better at catching and registering kiddie diddlers and other menaces. But by one count from this 2014 analysis, South Dakota is among states with weaker sex offender laws:

from Slate, 2014.08.13
from Slate, 2014.08.13

Most other states require offenders to stay on their registries longer than we do. One would think that offenders would cycle off our list more quickly, but it appears South Dakotans have a higher proclivity for getting on that list than do folks in neighboring states. Yuck.

36 Responses to South Dakota Has Unusually High Population of Sex Offenders

  1. Porter Lansing

    IMHO, SoDak catches more sex offenders and criminals in general because every old lady who looks out her windows all day, criticizing her neighbors and everyone else who walks by (Lynn?) and every guy with low self-esteem thinks they’re a “citizen enforcer” and on the police force. I’ll reckon there are more snitches in the state than any other state. Take that, WalletHub.

  2. LOL, I can see that happening, Porter. SD is one of the least educated states and people marry young and have children at a younger age so I’m sure that has something to do with it.

  3. When you factor in a largely rural area, lower education levels, higher suicide rates, lack of access to affordable mental healthcare or healthcare in general, higher poverty levels, low wages, recession prone (farming), temptations like video lottery, both parents working fulltime and a higher percentage of single moms – and then factor all that in with a state govt that pretends none of this is really of significance then all this bubbles over to higher crime rates, thus more sex offenders.

  4. Then people need to understand that there are better reporting practices now than before. The Roman Catholic Church hid their kiddie diddling for decades before law enforcement took serious action.

  5. Porter Lansing

    Great points, Jenny. Many factors involved in building a sexual predator. Usually being a busy body and holster sniffer is a bad thing but catching sex offenders is a worthwhile endeavor, no matter the method. Maybe WalletHub can tell us if there are more sex criminals or wife beaters in SoDak. I know there are many women who are not allowed to leave the farm, talk to others or be treated equally by husbands who are following the lead of the men in their families, before them.

  6. It’s been a long time since I’ve combed through the sex offender list, but from what remember, a quick glance through the list and perhaps the pictures will explain a lot. That’s all I’m going to say…

  7. Porter Lansing

    Does SoDak have a “sex offender moved into your neighborhood” free notification service? I get an e-mail periodically that tells me of any crimes, traffic accidents or pervert relocations within a couple mile radius of my photo studio. If not, the state should do this for citizens.

  8. Porter Lansing

    Something for Pierre … The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that convicted sex offenders can be compelled to cover the cost of performing sexual-assault examinations of victims.

  9. Jenny, I wondered about better reporting practices… but those practices would be better everywhere and thus not affect South Dakota’s relatively higher rate, right?

  10. Porter, I’m not sure if we can get push alerts. Anyone know for sure?

  11. bearcreekbat

    Maybe the people who calculated our State’s high numbers intuitively added in our legislators and supporters who are obsessed with what goes on in women’s bodies, bathrooms, same sex marriages, etc. This obsession seems both offensive and focused primarily on private sexual and bodily matters. Wouldn’t that make these folks “sex offenders?”

  12. Porter Lansing

    Excellent, BCB … Freddie Deutsch and his merry men, Powers, Jones, Schoenbeck, Nelson, Novstrup, Old Sargie and all the anti-choice, gotta’ stick my nose in women’s health decisions, low self-esteemed males are certainly offensive to the female sex. They’ve now been labeled SEX OFFENDERS.

  13. Porter Lansing

    I want to apologize for the sex offender joke I told above about the anti-choice crowd. The joke was beyond the level of acceptance and civility I set for myself. Sorry, gentlemen … it won’t happen again.

  14. But you know, Porter, Bearcreekbat’s suggestion that our GOP Legislature’s inordinate interest in intruding on other people’s sexual matters does raise an interesting question about whether we can liken them to sex offenders. Bear gets me imagining a modern Scarlet Letter, where we could make GOP candidates wear buttons reading, “I want to know with whom you’re having sex, and if I don’t like your choice of partners, I will punish you.”

    Darn—doesn’t quite fit on a button. Maybe we could pop that message up on people’s phones with an enhanced reality app?

  15. Porter Lansing

    Who’s more self-loathing? A Jewish Chiropractor or a group of Contemptible Catholics? They all seem to believe they have the right to tell women what to do with their health decisions … because “Men Are Masters”.

  16. Bear and CAH,

    Did you really post that last post? Really? I have no words to describe you as a human being to equate whatever policy disagreement we might have on abortion and raping children because equating/comparing the two shows a deep perversion to put these two matters in the same planet.

  17. That button would be truth in advertising on this or any of the other planets.

  18. bearcreekbat

    Troy, there are many sexually oriented behaviors that I find offensive. Some are crimes, such as priests raping kids. Some seem unconstitutionally offensive, such as trying to take away a woman’s constitutional right to decide whether to use contraceptives or to continue an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy. Some seem offensive because they discriminate against others based on sexual orientation. And some are offensive enough to convince otherwise decent people to vote for and defend a President who brags about grabbing women by the pussy, dodging STDs and having indiscriminate sex with other peoples’ wives.

    I don’t think Cory or I argued that all such behavior is equally offensive. But all such behavior does attempt to victimize others because of views about sex, and it doesn’t seem unfair or inappropriate to be offended by any of the above sexual behavior, whether the victim is a transgender child who just wants to use the toilet, or a rape victim who just wants to exercise her constitutional right not to be forced by the state to be a mere breeder.

  19. mike from iowa

    Offensive Sex-verts. Missouri guv calls special session for next week to work on abortion restrictions. St Louis aldermen passed a law making it illegal for groups to discriminate against women who have had an abortion. Wingnuts want more special rights for anti-abortion fauxknee kristians.

    I guess racial problems in Ferguson don’t need any attention.

  20. Bear and CH,

    At your core (and reinforced by your attempt to defend and rationalize your comments), I believe you are willing to tolerate for election a child predator and have latent suppressed desires to abuse children. You should be added to a neighborhood watch list and not be left alone with children.

  21. Careful there bear and Cory, Troy is bringing out his inner Sibby.

  22. Jerry, should have added you too. People who trivialize sex crimes so are to be watched. I now know who you are all at your core.

  23. Of course, I cannot speak for the others, but I know your core as well Troy. So then, now that we have that all settled, tell me, why do you and yours hate and fear women to that core of yours? You fellers are even able to transfer that hate and fear of women unto religion other than yours, amazing. Whenever I hear the anti Muslim rhetoric, I know that in that hate speech is the kind of person who hates and fears women without even bothering to watch. Now, I wonder what the political persuasion of those sex offenders are…

  24. mike from iowa

    Careful where you tread, Troy. You special rights advocates want to be free to punish those you disagree with through religious liberty surely know that those laws work both ways.

  25. Troy, Bear and I have evidence to support the statement we make, that many conservative Republicans take an inordinate and offensive interest in other people’s sex lives. Bear can also justify his statement that conservative Republicans are willing to overlook the sexually offensive behavior of a Republican candidate for President.

    There is no evidence in this discussion to support your insult against Bear and me. We can say, with complete consistency, “Sex crimes and child abuse are bad” and “Republican efforts to intrude in citizens’ sex lives are bad.” We have not trivialized sex crimes or expressed any desire to abuse children. Please retract and apologize.

  26. CH,

    The reality you continue to minimize sex crimes against children by equating it withpublic policy positions regarding the sanctity of life (a position held by your Governor candidate) and what constitutes a family (a position held by your Presidential candidate in 2008) makes it clear:

    1) Being a sex offender isn’t a disqualification for being your choice for office otherwise you’d not have overlooked their “inordinate and offensive interest in other people’s sex lives” and supported their candidacy. I guess I should be surprised since you overlooked a person’s conviction of stealing from old people in nursing homes and still found them acceptable for elected office.
    2) Similar to how you supported Obamacare as the means to get to single payer health care, you are minimizing sex crimes to ultimately normalize them like NAMBLA.
    3) Your perverted linking of the public policy positions about life and family of conservative Republicans you have never met to sexual activities demonstrates a projection of a deviant pathology which needs to be treated.

    In any case, I do not believe you should be unsupervised around children.

  27. 1. Stealing from old people. How does that equate to what you and yours are doing with eliminating Medicaid for those same old people you and yours champion? While we are absorbed with the selling out of America by your party, they have found the time to fast track the elimination of ACA/Obamacare with 50 votes. This will put those nursing home Medicaid patients right out on the street. The grand theft you are supporting is offensive.

    2. See above for the grand theft of decency by you and the rest of the cult republicans.

    3. Perverted thinking is what cult tribal republicans do every waking hour. The evil that prevails is what you may call, Biblical, for my lack of a better word.

    Regarding being supervised around children, that is really a stretch. Doth protest to much, methinks, which of course means “It is used in everyday speech to indicate doubt in someone’s sincerity” I doubt your sincerity about much Troy, but the one thing that I am sure of is your sincerity on your cult republican blindness to the facts. The facts are that South Dakota has an unusually high population of sex offenders (see numbers shown). South Dakota is a red state, of which you are a proud member. Instead of chastising the messengers, do something to correct the problem through education as a starter. Stop treating girls as if they are sex objects, stop allowing bullying by boys and girls in the school systems. Put more social workers in the school systems starting at pre school. Get the hell out of the bathrooms and put stalls in for privacy in the schools. Sexual offenders got their start someplace, probably at home, social workers can help to bring what happens at home to authorities. This is long term stuff change the laws to protect and serve the public, why are the laws so weak in the first place? Why does your cult party hide the facts of sexual bullying by legislators, in session no less.

  28. Donald Pay

    I generally skip over the sex offender stories, so I didn’t see this until now. I’m not surprised Wisconsin has high sex offender rate. It’s always in the news here.

    Tightening of the laws on sex offenses and domestic abuse occurred for a number of reasons in South Dakota during the 1990s. SD had a horrendous kidnapping/rape/murder of a young girl in Sioux Falls/Lincoln County during the 1980s. South Dakota AGs were pushing a crackdown, but the prime movers of these tough bills in the 1990s were women in the SD Legislature, Democrats and Republicans. The conservative lobbying groups often were opposed to these bills because they thought such laws intruded too much on “family life” and “religious liberty.” It made no sense, and I think they soon regretted siding with the child molesters who claimed they were religious to hide their crimes.

  29. Alcohol I’m sure plays a part, Donald P. Wisconsin has the highest percentage of (heavy)drinkers in the US.

  30. I think that this may also be a factor We have that here in South Dakota as well. We also have meth which is another reason why social workers that can recognize the faces of abused children and the ties to narcotics become clear. Problem is, cult republicans are not into social treatments of the root causes of drug addiction, sex offenders and how they work in tandem or start that way. In Ohio from 2011 to 2015, 4 billion with a b heroin pills were sold. That makes big pharma and its stockholders very wealthy while the political party in power looks the other way and counts their ill gotten gains.

    Messengers just bring the news, it is then up to legislators to find the solution instead of keeping the creations of those issues hidden as if they do not exist.

  31. I guess to be fair, the problem of alcoholism on SDs reservations plays a big part also. (Now please don’t start call me racist, just laying out the facts)

  32. And it looks like Troy has gone off the deep end.

  33. It would be interesting to hear from a professor/scholar of some sort on why there is a higher number of sex offenders in SD. Do rural states have a higher rate, is it b/c of the prevalence of alcoholism on the reservations? Instead of accusing Cory of supporting sex offenders, as Troy has, lets try to find the reasons why there is a higher number in SD.

  34. Porter Lansing

    I had no idea. This fact must be “under the rug”.
    Q ~ What’s the second biggest group of hills in South Dakota?
    A ~ The embarrassing issues piled under the “Republican Rug of Denial” in Pierre.
    >Native Americans Are at the Greatest Risk of Sexual Violence<
    On average, American Indians ages 12 and older experience 5,900 sexual assaults per year.
    American Indians are twice as likely to experience a rape/sexual assault compared to all races.
    41% of sexual assaults against American Indians are committed by a stranger; 34% by an acquaintance; and 25% by an intimate or family member.