Previously missing sex offender has registered new address - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Kerry Klatt

Previously missing sex offender has registered new address

AUSTIN, MN (FOX 47) -- There are new developments in the search for a Level 3 sex offender.

Rochester police say that Shannon Benson is no longer missing. Police say he registered a new address in Rochester on Monday, after spending last week in Austin.

By law, Level 3 sex offenders must notify police when and where they're going to move.

In this case, Benson failed to do either. For now, police say he's registered in Rochester.

Monday night, we reported that police were looking for the 29-year-old. He has been convicted of sex crimes in Rochester and St. Peter. Police say he moved to Austin on Monday of last week.

He told police he'd be staying at the Sterling Motel, and one week later, police weren't sure of his whereabouts.

Paul Philipp, Chief of Police, says, "The reason why it's unusual is, normally, when a person is getting out of prison, the state will notify us two months in advance, a month or two months in advance that you're going to have a Level 3 sex offender coming to your community."

In this case, Benson didn't notify anyone he was moving from Rochester to Austin.

Philipp says, "In an individual's case like this, he decided on, say, Monday of last week, that he didn't want to live in Rochester anymore, all he did was drive over here to Austin and come to the Law Enforcement Center, register."

Benson told police he'd be staying at the Sterling Motel. An employee told us that Benson checked out Friday, and police add he has not registered a new address, which means no one knows where he is - including police.

Philipp says, "We think that most likely he went back to Rochester. He has no ties to this community so it's most likely that he's back there." 

Police have planned a community notification meeting at Our Savior's Lutheran Church for Thursday evening, assuming that Benson is still living in town.

A Level 3 sex offender is defined as an offender who is determined to be of high risk of re-offending. By law, his residence must be reported to the public.

You can learn more about Benson and where he will be making a home at a community notification meeting Thursday night. It's at Our Savior's Lutheran Church at 6:30.

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