Author Topic: 8 year olds, dude  (Read 4305 times)

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Offline Nubbins

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8 year olds, dude
« on: December 21, 2009, 09:43:44 AM »

More than 200 sex offenders cannot be found

By Alan Judd
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The state of Georgia has no idea where to find child molester Michael Jerome Madison.

It can’t locate Frederick Charles Zimmerman, either. Or Charles Eugene Mickler. Or nearly 250 other sex offenders from metro Atlanta.

Nearly one-tenth of the area’s registered sex offenders who are not in jail are listed as “absconded” — meaning that law enforcement authorities have lost track of them, despite a strict law intended to keep such offenders under close supervision and away from potential victims.

Nevertheless, some say the long list of missing offenders — rapists, kidnappers and molesters, as well as people convicted of engaging in consensual sex acts when they were minors — should cause no alarm.

“The people on the registry are not the ones to be concerned about,” said John Bankhead, a spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which maintains the sex offender registry. “It’s the ones who live right up under your nose. Stranger-on-stranger sex crimes do happen. But most cases involve people the victim already knows.”

Studies commissioned by the U.S. Justice Department suggest that children are more likely to be sexually assaulted by family members, baby sitters or authority figures such as teachers or coaches than by strangers. One analysis found that in 60 percent of cases in which boys were the victims and in 80 percent involving girls, the child knew the assailant.

Missing offenders worry advocates for the victims of sex crimes. Monitoring, they say, deters offenders from putting themselves in places and situations where they might go after new victims.

“It is a problem when you don’t know where they’re living,” said Stacie Rumenap, president of Stop Child Predators, a Washington-based group that has advocated for a nationwide offender registry. “If we can’t monitor a sex offender, how do we know what they’re doing? Law enforcement has to know where the sex offender is to be able to do their jobs.”

Georgia’s sex offender registry, known for its restrictive rules governing where offenders can live, work or even loiter, has been controversial since its creation in 1994. This fall, authorities forced a group of homeless sex offenders to leave a makeshift camp behind an office park in Marietta — one of the few places, the men said, they could live without breaking the law.

A challenge to the Georgia law is under way in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. Lawyers for a woman convicted for sex acts she performed as a minor contend that the state imposes unconstitutionally vague and arbitrary restrictions on sex offenders. The law forbids sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, parks and day care centers, as well as from working or volunteering in any “area where minors congregate.”

That, the woman contends, could be anywhere.

The registry contained 17,743 names at the end of November, including almost 3,400 who were incarcerated, according to the GBI. Just 17 percent of the registered offenders live in the counties surrounding Atlanta. But of the 441 absconded offenders statewide, 57 percent come from the Atlanta area.
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