Hundreds Of Convicted Sex Offenders Off The Charts
Alonzo Clark Jr. now moves furniture for a living, but in the past, he moved through the criminal justice system.
In 1996, Clark was charged with kidnapping and rape. He was eventually convicted of attempted rape.
For years, Clark had to register as a sex offender but court records showed that he did not want to register anymore. Now he's not telling anyone where he lives or works, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported.
Charles Ross lives in a home for senior citizens where 10 Investigates found Clark delivering furniture.
"(Clark) shouldn't be working for the company, especially the company that has people coming in and out of people's houses," Ross said.
Still, Clark has not done anything wrong, Aker reported. An Ohio Supreme Court decision made it legal for him and thousands of certain types of sex offenders convicted before 1997 to drop off the registry, which means they are invisible to the system that once tracked them.
The list of unlisted sex offenders is long and getting longer. 10 Investigates found more than 200 sex offenders in Franklin County alone. Of those, 49 were Tier III offenders.
Under the old rules, the courts considered them the most dangerous. While they were once easy to find by going to a state Web site, that is no longer the case.
10 Investigates looked for several of them at the addresses they were last registered.
Michael Andrews, who was convicted of sexual battery, is nowhere to be found. It comes as a surprise to AdeNikie Martin, who lives next to his old address.
"That is wild," Martin said. "I didn't know anything about that. That's scary to know that."
Gregory Buzzard, who was convicted for his part in a gang rape is also hard to find.
Aker knocked on the doors of numerous homes where Buzzard was registered and was told he did not live at any of the residences.
10 Investigates had a little more luck finding Keith Culbertson, who was convicted of raping a child at a YMCA. Culbertson was tracked to The Ohio State University but did not want to be interviewed for this story.
A woman who was raped by one of the sex offenders who no longer has to register said that she was grabbed from the side of a road and beaten until she managed to escape.
The woman, who requested anonymity, said that she was told by hospital workers that it was a miracle she did not die. She said the change in the law puts the community at risk.
"I mean, they don't even know where he's at," the woman said. "How can you keep track of him?"
Jay Macke, the supervisor of the Intake, Prison and Parole Section at the Ohio Public Defender's office, sees the woman's comments differently.
"These people have demonstrated they're not a risk," Macke said.
According to Macke, sex offenders who are now dropping off the list were punished unfairly under the old law since it required them to register long than their original sentences required. He said that the law snared offenders who were never a serious threat to reoffend.
"Ultimately it hurt a lot of people and made a lot of people scared for no good benefit," Macke said.
Ohio State Professor Joshua Dressler, who is known as one of the most respected authorities of criminal law in the U.S., said that the Ohio Supreme Court overturned the law requiring sex offenders to register because it violated the Ohio Constitution.
"They seem to have carefully considered both the concerns of society to be protected but also the concerns of the individuals who has to register to make sure they are given their due process and their constitutional rights," Dressler said.
Experts say it is possible that the Ohio Legislature could change the law so that it becomes constitutional to make the offenders register again.
A spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General's office said that the office would submit a proposal in November.
On Monday afternoon, 10 Investigates spoke to the sex offender who was convicted of raping a 7-year-old boy. He said that the law should not be changed because it's because that would make it unconstitutional.
10 Investigates also talked to an attorney for the offender who moves furniture. He stressed that the court originally found that his client was at the lowest risk-level for re-offense.
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