At 21, he wears his Wichita gang name with tattoos on his arms: “INSANE” on his left arm and “CRIP” on his right. His physical description, right down to his tattoos, appears on the state offender registry that is open to the public.
At 15, he robbed, raped and sodomized a woman and shot a man three times after a break-in at a north Wichita home in 2009, according to criminal charges he accepted when he was 16.
His name is Marvin Lamont Davis, and he is enrolled at Wichita State University this fall. He is on a list of 12 registered sex offenders enrolled or employed at Wichita State University. The WSU police keep the list at their office, and anyone can go there and ask to see it.
But few do.
Federal law requires universities to keep a list of registered offenders at their school and make the information available. What’s not clear is how many people know about the lists.
Accounts of an alleged gang rape and other reports of sex crimes at the University of Virginia – and questions about how the college handled it and how Rolling Stone magazine reported on it – have fueled a national discussion about campus safety.
This past week, The Eagle obtained the offender lists kept by each of the state’s six state universities – showing a total of 37 registered offenders, with crimes including rape, indecent liberties with a child and use of a deadly weapon.
Besides the 12 at WSU, Kansas State University lists 10, Pittsburg State University, seven; the University of Kansas, five; Emporia State University, two; and Fort Hays State, one.
For perspective, the universities’ share of registered offenders constitutes a small fraction of the statewide total kept by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation as of Friday: 8,641 sex offenders, 3,056 drug offenders and 2,839 violent offenders.
Likewise, the 12 registered offenders at WSU comprise a small percentage of the 2,558 registered offenders in Sedgwick County as of Dec. 1.
What information goes on the list and how it is provided to the public varies from campus to campus. Some post it online. Others require students and parents to go to the campus police offices and ask for it. Consumers can find out how to get the lists by checking universities’ websites and searching for “registered offenders.”
Larry Williams, father of Carrie Williams, a 20-year-old Pittsburg State student murdered in 1996 by a fellow student and neighbor, Gary Kleypas, said that registered-offenders lists should be easy to get. Kleypas, the first to be convicted of capital murder under the current death penalty law, had been a parolee with a violent criminal history in Missouri.
“You shouldn’t have to go fish for it,” Williams said of the lists.
As for the offenders having their information publicized, Williams said, “You know, they committed a crime. They gave up some rights.”
A wanted man
Davis, the offender listed by WSU, couldn’t be reached for comment. Maybe it’s because he’s a wanted man.
Since Oct. 17, authorities have had an arrest warrant for Davis for failing to return to his assigned residence, his mother’s house in Wichita. Her name also is tattooed on his arm, the state offender registry says.
Davis has been under what is called conditional release, a form of parole, said Mark Masterson, director of the Sedgwick County Department of Corrections.
Masterson and WSU confirmed that Davis is enrolled for the fall semester at WSU.
Although Wichita State has the highest number of registered offenders, according to the lists, WSU officials say that is not surprising considering that the school serves the state’s largest city, which also is home to a large share of parolees because of the jobs and resources that Wichita offers.
Offender registries exist because lawmakers decided that the public should be aware of people with certain kinds of criminal convictions who live in their neighborhood or work around them. Critics say that putting someone’s name, face and crime on a public registry makes it harder for them to succeed and that everyone deserves a second chance after they have been punished.
The KBI website for the offender registry warns that using the information to “threaten, intimidate or harass another” could lead to criminal prosecution.
Kathy Ray has another perspective. The state registry and the lists kept by the universities “sort of give a false sense of security to people,” said Ray, director of advocacy for the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
Ray says that while about one in five women will be victims of completed or attempted sexual assaults while college students, according to federal data, only a small percentage of rapes are reported to police and fewer are prosecuted and result in convictions that would put someone on a registry.
Student victims of sexual assault are much less likely to report rapes to police than non-students, and one in five victims fear reprisal if they report the attack, says a Department of Justice study released Thursday.
The report also found that college-age women are three times more likely to be assaulted than young teens and women older than 25.
Ray said offender lists represent “probably a very small fraction of actual rapists.”
It’s why Sara Rust-Martin, the coalition’s legal and policy director, advises: “Don’t rely solely on this list.”
The WSU list shows only the registered sex offenders enrolled or employed at the university. If you call up the offender list kept by the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and type in a main university address, 1845 Fairmount, it shows three more offenders living within a quarter-mile of the campus address and seven more living within a half-mile.
The case of Davis, the offender on the WSU list, illustrates how the list and the registries disclose only some of a person’s serious crimes. If you look at the WSU list, it says “Rape” was his offense. As recently as this past week, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation registry listed only rape for him.
By Friday, KBI realized that a data keystroke error resulted in Davis being listed only for rape, said Mark Malick, KBI spokesman and special agent in charge. The state registry now correctly says he also has four convictions for aggravated criminal sodomy. The victim of the rape and sodomies was a 34-year-old woman, the registry says.
Only if you obtain Davis’ court file through the Sedgwick County District Court juvenile records section – people wrongly assume that all juvenile records are closed – do you realize that he has 12 convictions.
The full list includes attempted first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated criminal sodomy, aggravated burglary, criminal threat and two counts of aggravated robbery involving a handgun. He accepted those charges, at age 16, under an agreement that he would not face prosecution as an adult, court documents show.
Unless a judge specifically requests that a violent crime by a juvenile be listed on the registry, the only crimes committed by a juvenile that appear are sex crimes, said Malik, the KBI spokesman.
If a student comes to a Kansas university from outside the state, and has a crime that qualifies for the offender registry, it’s the student’s responsibility to register. Some law enforcement officers are tasked with following up to make sure that offenders register, Malik noted. Failure to register or to register truthfully can result in a felony charge.
Those whose crimes qualify for the state registry are required to notify authorities within three days of any changes in employment, residency or school status, said Sedgwick County sheriff’s Sgt. Tracy Spreier, supervisor of the sheriff’s offender registration unit. Offenders have to register four times a year based on their birth month.
The idea is that the public should be able to know at any time “where these people are at,” Spreier said.
In Kansas, county sheriff’s offices collect and maintain offender data; the KBI is the primary data holder.
How schools handle information
The universities handle the offender information differently. K-State and KU list offenders by name online. At Emporia, Fort Hays, Pittsburg and Wichita State, someone has to go the campus police and ask to see it. And that’s the way it works at the flagship campus in Kansas’ neighboring state, at the University of Missouri at Columbia.
The Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees the state universities, said Friday that each school decides how to make the offender information available.
WSU lists the offenders’ full name, address, race and sex, date of birth, type of offense, date they were registered by the KBI and date WSU was notified. All of the crimes listed for the 12 people on the WSU list are sex crimes, including aggravated indecent solicitation of a child, aggravated indecent liberties, rape, attempted rape and rape with a child under 14, attempted criminal sodomy and unlawful sexual relations.
K-State appears to provide the most information in one spot online, including the offenders’ crimes, photos, dates of birth, addresses and physical description, and lists not only sex offenders but also violent and drug offenders, covering all three types of offenders listed by the state offender registry.
The KU list is online but appears to give only the names of offenders and links to the KBI registry, where someone can look up the person’s information.
Walking a ‘tight line’
WSU’s police chief, Sara Morris, said people rarely ask for the list at the university police office. Even after a shocking attack last month just south of the WSU campus, in which police said an attacker beat, raped and set a woman on fire in Fairmount Park, Morris said she doesn’t know of a single request for the list, other than by an Eagle reporter.
Asked whether WSU could post its list online, Morris said she’s considering putting it in a different format, “maybe something that’s a little more user-friendly. I don’t know that it’s real user-friendly.”
If anyone understands the dynamics of serious crimes, it might be Morris. In 1985, she said, an attacker tried to rape her in a North Oliver parking lot a week before she started the police academy. Later, she worked nearly nine years as a homicide detective.
In fairness to the offenders on the current list at WSU, Morris said, “These people have not caused an issue on our campus. They are trying to get an education. They are trying to get on with their lives.”
Wichita State is “asked to walk a very tight line,” said Ted Ayres, WSU vice president and general counsel.
“We have a social responsibility to provide the very best education we can for everybody,” he said, “always balanced against safety and security.”
On the education side, when offenders take classes, it gives them a chance to “be a better person, be more employable,” he said.
And as long as the person meets admission requirements, nothing prohibits their being on campus, he said.
“I applaud Wichita State for trying to help these folks.”
Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to get the lists
Wichita State University
The WSU offender list can be obtained from the front desk of the WSU police office on the east side of campus, south of Wilkins Softball Complex and north of the Campus Credit Union. Look for the radio tower. Normal office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. WSU police can be reached at 316-978-3450.
Kansas State University
(search for campus registered offenders)
University of Kansas
(search for registered sex offenders)
Emporia State University
The ESU list is available at the Police and Safety Office, at the northeast corner of Welch Stadium.
Fort Hays State University
The FHSU list is available at the Center of Public Safety in Custer Hall, Suite 112.
Pittsburg State University
The PSU list can be viewed at the university Police Department, 1501 S. Joplin St., Pittsburg.