Posted: 1/7/2003 6:06:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2003 6:10:50 PM EDT by M4]
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - California has lost track of more than 33,000 convicted sex offenders, despite a law requiring rapists and child molesters to register each year for inclusion in the Megan's Law database.
"We don't know where they are," acknowledged Margaret Moore, who until recently ran California's sex offender registry.
Sex offenders are not checking in with law enforcement, which in most cases is a felony. And many overworked police departments are not following up.
According to 2002 data provided to The Associated Press after repeated requests over nine months, the state does not know the whereabouts of at least 33,296 sex offenders, or 44 percent of the 76,350 who registered with the state at least once. These rapists and child molesters vanished after registering.
The total number of convicted sex offenders whose whereabouts are unknown may be even higher: No one knows how many offenders never registered at all after leaving prison.
No one knows how many of these missing sex offenders have struck again. But nationally, 52 percent of rapists are arrested for new crimes within three years of leaving prison, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Among those missing is Richard Flick, convicted of molesting four young children in the 1980s and '90s. Flick was freed from Atascadero State Hospital in 1999 despite warnings from the hospital staff that he hadn't resolved his sexual attraction to children. Even he said it would be "disastrous" to be released without supervision. A search of the database turned up nothing about him.
Law abiding citizens, register your "assault weapons" or face prosecution. Sex offenders, register yourselves....or....we.....ahhh...nevermind....just promise not to do it again, ok?