Guilford County, NC -- Loopholes in sex offender laws are making it possible for offenders to be convicted yet avoid being listed in the sex offender registry.
The registry is designed as a public notification system whereby neighbors, on their own accord, can find out if a sex offender lives next door or has moved into their neighborhood.
But offenders like Paul Brantner, who was recently arrested by the High Point Police Department are beating the system and taking advantage of more victims.
Brantner has been charged with sexual exploitation and indecent liberties with a minor.
A little digging into his background revealed he was discharged from the Coast Guard.
The reason? A court martial and a conviction on 12-counts of using a government computer to download child pornography.
Despite the conviction, Brantner is not listed in the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry.
In trying to find out why he's not listed, News 2 found out not all sex Brantner is not alone.
Some offenders simply skirt the law, while others, like Brantner, legally avoid being listed.
Corporal John Daniel who works in works in the Guilford County Sheriff's Office says it's not a common occurrence but it certainly happens.
Daniel has spent 38 years in law enforcement dealing with sex offenders and tells us there are several ways offenders stay off the registry.
The first way is through plea deals like Brantner reportedly did.
An offender tells the sentencing judge (s)he'll plead guilty and comply with the ruling if (s)he can skip the public humiliation.
"We have seen an occasional case where a judge says, 'I don't think registration is necessary under these circumstances.' and there are provisions within the law that allow the judge to do that," said Corporal Daniel.
Another tactic offenders use to avoid the registry is by moving to other states which may be more lenient about what sex crimes are serious enough to be listed.
And if the crime happens in a lenient state but an offender moves to North Carolina where his/her crime qualifies for the registry, local authorities have no recourse, Daniel said.
"We have no way of knowing his location or anyway of checking up on him or to see if he's compliant or make him compliant. We don't know have that information.'
And then there's this 10-year relief option: the law says after a decade on the registry, some sex offenders can petition and be taken off the registry.
"It is part of the routine, we do see it. Do we like it? No. But we have to abide by what the court says," the Corporal said. "It would be upsetting to the public."
Certainly, because who knows how many of these offenders are really out there who aren't on the registry.
If there's any good news, Daniel says, in North Carolina, the District Attorneys make it hard to avoid the registry and victims are allowed to weigh-in before offenders are taken off the list.
Right now there are 700 registered sex offenders in Guilford County. Statewide, Daniel says, that number is around 20,000.
Once they are in the system, the law says officers have to check on them to keep them compliant.