Remember that a sex offender’s residency at a motel or inn is completely legal, and there is no obligation on the part of any establishment to research the background of a guest, or alert other guests to someone’s criminal history. There is also no specific obligation of any police agency, in the states we checked, to give notice directly to hotel or motel guests, about a sex offender who has reported his or her residence there.
So the best way – and likely the only way – for a family to try to take steps to make sure they do not check in to a motel room next to a sex offender is to get the address for the motel, and then cross-check the readily available sex-offender databases for that address. But even that will not work one hundred percent of the time:
Every state maintains its own registry of sex offenders, which is supposed to be updated every time an offender changes his or her home or work address. Most state registries allow you to search by address. But not all work that way. That includes – in the Midwestern states we researched – Minnesota. For the most part, Minnesota does not map offenders by exact addresses, but only by the overall block where they report their residence.
Unintended Consequences: Sex Offenders in Motels [nbcchicago.com 5/7/18]
In April of 2014, a five-year-old girl was playing with her brothers on the grounds of the Econo Lodge in Terre Haute, Indiana where she was staying with her family, when a man grabbed her, took her into his motel room, hit her, pulled off her clothes, and molested her.
Court records show that the man, Timothy Blazier, 50, was a recently paroled, twice-convicted child-molester. He’d been living at the Econo Lodge for three months when he molested the five-year-old girl. He’s now back in prison, serving a sixty-year sentence for the attack — his third conviction involving the sexual abuse of a child.
The incident spurred protests from some Terre Haute residents when they learned that the Econo Lodge — part of the Choice Hotels International chain — had been home not just to Blazier, but to twelve other convicted sex offenders who, according to local news reports, had been housed there at state expense because the motel was one of the few locations that lay outside the town’s prohibited zones for sex offenders.
Following the attack, Choice Hotels cut its affiliation with the motel, which closed a few months later. Choice Hotels International has not responded to several emails from NBC5, asking for comment on the 2014 incident.