4 child sex offenders missing in Harford

CRIME WATCH

Baltimore & Region

September 29, 2005|By JUSTIN FENTON | JUSTIN FENTON,SUN REPORTER

Seven child sex offenders no longer live at the Harford County addresses they registered with the state or county, a review by the sheriff's office has found.

Three men have been arrested, and four are at large after calls and visits to their listed addresses failed to find them. In July, the sheriff's office assigned a part-time officer to investigate addresses of child molesters, a position Sheriff R. Thomas Golding has said he hopes will be full time in next year's budget.

State and local police have been pushing to improve the accuracy of the state sex offender registry, which in recent months has been found to be riddled with errors and missing information. The addresses for about one in five -- or 800 of the 4,300 sex offenders -- were listed last month as questionable or unknown in the state's registry, which relies on the offenders to provide up-to-date information.

After Carl Preston Evans Jr., a convicted sex offender, was accused of killing his 13-year-old stepdaughter in Essex last month, area counties began checking the addresses of sex offenders with increased diligence. A review of Howard's 76 offenders last month found 13 had failed to register current addresses. In the past month, Harford police have sought warrants from a District Court judge for seven sex offenders. Six of them appear in the county's child sex offender registry, which has grown to more than 80 in recent years. In 2001, 30 were listed.

Only one of the men wanted by authorities is listed on the state's violent sex offender registry, which tracks another 50 criminals living in Harford County. The county is not required to track violent offenders, but sheriff's spokesman Edward Hopkins said police keep a paper trail on them as a proactive measure.

Of the seven warrants, three men were arrested this month and are being held at the Harford County Detention Center.

Hopkins said police rely heavily on tips from citizens.

Glenn H. Mina, a retired watch commander and 30-year employee of the sheriff's department, was appointed in July to continue verifying sex offenders' addresses, a task previously assigned to an administrative deputy. When Mina reaches the end of the list, he begins again, Hopkins said. Two men were arrested for failing to report new addresses this year.

The county's online registry shows many accounts have not been updated since last year. Two are listed as not being updated since October 2003.

But tighter laws may be coming. The issue of tracking sex offenders has emerged as a central theme in the 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, said he wants to increase penalties for sexually violent criminals. Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, a Democrat who formally announced his intention to run yesterday, suggested that convicted child molesters should wear satellite tracking bracelets for life.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.