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Keeping track of sex offenders

Posted in Sex Offenders September 9th, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

Where do sex offenders go to hide from the law and not register as a sex offender? They may be going to Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. These are territories of the U.S. and you don’t need a passport to enter these countries. However, in these island countries sex offenders still have to register.

Each month, about half a dozen sex offenders come to the island from the U.S. mainland. Some do register with local authorities, according to Puerto Rico police Capt. Margarita George who oversees the island’s sex offender registry. Nobody knows how many others fail to report in.

As a result, Puerto Rico law enforcement is cracking down on unregistered sex offenders in their country. Federal agents have arrested at least five sex offenders over the last year for failure to register in Puerto Rico. These low-lives have been sent back to the U.S. to face prosecution on other charges. There may be 10 more cases of unregistered offenders on the island.

Sex offenders come to the islands because of the lack of laws barring them from living near parks or schools. Failing to register is a misdemeanor in Puerto Rico, not a felony as it is in most parts of the U.S.

In 2006, the U.S. Congress tried to close local loopholes on tracking them. The law required that all states and territories to impose the same tough monitoring of sex offenders. No matter where they are they need to update their registration information in person as frequently as every three months. So far, only Florida, Ohio, Delaware and some Native American jurisdictions meet the new federal standards.

Unfortunately about 100,000 of the 714,000 registered sex offenders in the United States are unaccounted for. Are some of these sex offenders in the Caribbean Islands?

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