November 10, 2005
There are 11,000 sex offenders on the state registry in Georgia, and those are only the ones tracked by the GBI. But soon hundreds of them will fall off the registry, their pictures will disappear from the website and they’ll be free to roam undetected in the communities where you live. As we found out in this News 12 special assignment: that’s just one way more and more sex offenders can hide in plain sight.
Back in June, convicted child molester Christopher Marshall Banks was arrested after he’s caught on tape teaching kids in Richmond and Aiken Counties martial arts. Banks’ photo was missing from the GBI website listing sex offenders.
Melanie Klaus counsels victims of rape and other crimes, including children who fall prey to predators. She says we have every right to ask why that picture was missing.
“I think sure it’s a fair question. Why don’t they? What’s the story? Where is the breakdown? This case with the karate instructor, it’s a case in point, it’s very clear we need pictures, we need to be able to recognize them.” Klaus said.
District Attorney Danny Craig not only agrees, he’s working with lawmaker to require all sex offenders to wear tracking devices and serve a minimum 25-year sentence for the more serious offenses. He says we have to make it easier to track offenders because of one simple fact.
“In this office, we have never seen a child molester or a sex offender rehabilitated,” Craig said.
And that’s what makes this next fact so scary: more than 300 convicted sex offenders fall off the state registry, their pictures, their names, their addresses, no longer there for you to see, no longer tracked by the GBI, they are free to move around and live where you live, hiding in plain sight.
“Law enforcement will know about it, but the public won’t,” said John Bankhead, GBI.
Only those convicted of the worst crimes will stay on the Georgia registry for life, the others slip back into our communities without a warning, without knowing who they are.
So what can you do? If you want to see the laws changed, and made tougher, tell your lawmaker. Click here to contact your lawmaker.
And there’s something else we’re doing to help. Because hundreds of sex offenders are falling off the registry, we’re going to start showing you their pictures, it may be the last time you see them. We want to take away the cloak of secrecy, as the district attorney calls it, we are putting sex offenders in plain sight. Starting November 17, and every Thursday after that, we’ll show you sex offenders were you live.