How ex-offenders become "lost in supervision"

Lost in Supervision - Part 1
Lost in Supervision - Part 2
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COLUMBUS – For more than a year, 10 Investigates has exposed failures within the state’s parole system to closely monitor sex offenders.

The net results were deadly.

  • In 2013, Eric Hendon was accused and later convicted of fatally shooting a man and his two children in Barberton, Ohio. Hendon was wearing a GPS ankle monitor at the time of the crime. A fourth victim survived but lost her eye.
  • In 2017, Brian Golsby was accused and later convicted of the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Ohio State student Reagan Tokes. He too was wearing a GPS ankle monitor at the time of the crime. During Golsby’s sentencing hearing last month, Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Mark Serrott even blamed Tokes’ death in part on the failure of the parole system to closely monitor Golsby.
  • And just this year, convicted sex offender Anthony Pardon was indicted for the kidnapping, rape, burglary and murder of Rachael Anderson, a 24-year old woman who Columbus police say was tortured in her apartment.


Pardon was not wearing a GPS ankle monitor, despite a court order from Georgia stating that he should be.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation has refused to answer 10 Investigates’ questions about why Pardon was not assigned a GPS ankle monitor when he returned to Ohio last summer as part of an interstate compact agreement with Georgia.

A spokeswoman would only say that Pardon returned to Ohio and “was on probation through the Adult Parole Authority as part of an interstate compact with Georgia.”

(The interstate compact agreement typically allows states to swap prisoners).

But interstate compact documents obtained by 10 Investigates on Wednesday show that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction wrote to Georgia on May 25, 2017 to say that before Pardon returned to Ohio, ODRC could not comply with Georgia’s request to provide electronic monitoring because it was “unclear on the length” and there was an “expense issue.”

Court documents obtained by 10 Investigates show a Georgia judge had ordered Pardon to serve nearly 10 years in prison with an additional 20 years on probation. Pardon was to “wear an ankle monitor and pay for all expenses,” the court documents state.

10 Investigates reached out to an ODRC spokeswoman Thursday afternoon seeking clarity or an explanation but has not heard back.

All three cases mentioned above illustrate a failure on the part of the state’s parole system to closely monitor violent sex offenders who have gone on to be accused – or later convicted – of additional acts of violence.

Problems still persist with tracking sex offenders in Ohio, sources tell 10 Investigates.

Information is not always shared in a timely manner between law enforcement and parole officers. And those same groups admit there aren’t enough resources devoted to adequately track all the sex offenders.

There are more than 17,000 sex offenders in the state of Ohio, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s website.

PARDON’S BRUSHES WITH THE LAW

Upon returning to Ohio last summer to finish out his probation under the watch of Ohio’s Adult Parole Authority, Pardon was required to check-in with the sheriff’s department every 90 days – which he did.

But on two occasions – in both September and again in December – Pardon claimed he was working at a restroom facility on the southwest side of Columbus. But the owner of ABC Restrooms tells 10 Investigates that while Anthony Pardon’s sister was a former employee – he never employed Anthony Pardon – and that the sheriff’s department never called to check.

“It did not happen,” said Chief Deputy Rick Minerd.

When asked should it have happened, Minerd said: “We do our very best in terms of verifying employment and residency. And so ideally we would like to go out and verify each address and place of employment.”

Minerd said that misstep within his department should be viewed in context. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, he says, has four detectives assigned to its sex offender unit who are responsible for keeping track of nearly 2,000 sex offenders in the county.

Minerd’s words were echoed by other parole officers who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

But their statements mirrored each other – there are too many offenders and not enough resources devoted to track them.

Statewide, there are roughly 38,000 ex-cons under the watch of the state’s parole system with 449 parole officers. Many of them have active caseloads of more than 100 per officer.

Here in Franklin County – as Minerd mentioned – there are four sheriff’s detectives devoted to keeping track of nearly 2,000 registered sex offenders.

Failures do happen.

And when they do, law enforcement officials tell 10 Investigates they happen because the cards are stacked against them.

Detectives and parole officers say they are overwhelmed by massive caseloads and indirectly discouraged through departmental policies from sending offenders back to prison.

While under the watch of Ohio’s parole system, convicted sex offender Anthony Pardon had multiple interactions with police in the months leading up to his arrest for the murder of Rachael Anderson.

In addition to checking in with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department’s sex offender unit, Pardon was also caught twice driving without a license.

During one of those traffic stops on August 21, 2017, Pardon was caught with a prostitute in the car he was driving.

He told deputies he was just “giving her a ride,” according to a copy of the deputy’s notes obtained by 10 Investigates.

But the woman told 10 Investigates by phone that Pardon was interested in sex.

She was later arrested that day for an outstanding warrant.

On another occasion, around 4 a.m. on January 27, 2018 – just one day before police say Rachael Anderson was murdered in her Columbus apartment – Pardon was again caught driving without a license but also had with him a pocket knife.

A kitchen knife and a pellet gun were also found the car belonging to his sister.

Pardon was not arrested following that traffic stop.

Instead, a state trooper gave him a ride home.

A spokesman for the Ohio State Highway Patrol told 10 Investigates that “our trooper stopped Mr. Pardon and completed the necessary wants and warrants and drivers history checks required. Mr. Pardon did not have any outstanding warrants and was released.”

The incident was not directly reported to Pardon’s parole officer.

The problem, parole officer sources tell 10 Investigates, is that even if those incidents were reported, offenders on probation through the Adult Parole Authority can amass anywhere between 5 to 11 sanctions against their probation or parole before it is threatened with being revoked.

None of Pardon’s interactions with police ever threatened to send him back to prison, 10 Investigates has learned.

RACHAEL’S FRIEND REACTS

That came as a surprise to Tina Kennedy, a close friend of Anderson’s, who has attended all of Pardon’s recent court hearings.

“It’s mind-boggling to me that someone with these convictions can be stopped by police and get in trouble and drive without a license and no one is stopping him. They just took him home,” she told 10 Investigates.

10 Investigates also reviewed dash cam video from that January 27, 2018 traffic stop. We noticed this exchange between Pardon and the trooper.

“Check the car man, ain’t nothing illegal in my car,” Pardon told the trooper on a dash cam obtained by 10 Investigates.

The trooper replied: “I appreciate that man… you don’t have an ID on you?”

Pardon: “I’m going to be honest with you, I ain’t gonna lie. I just come home man. I just come home from doing 35 years man.”

Trooper: “35 years? For what?”

Pardon: “Oh, you don’t even want to know.”

PARDON’S LENGTHY CRIMINAL HISTORY

Pardon, who had returned to Ohio in June of 2017 to serve out his probation through an interstate compact agreement with the state of Georgia, had spent the past 35 years in prison.

In 1980, as a teenaged juvenile, Pardon was charged and later convicted of raping a 9-month old child.

In 1982, court records show Pardon was convicted of attempted murder and rap. According to court documents, he attempted to drown the victim behind the Valley Dale ballroom on November 13, 1981. The victim survived the attack thanks to a passerby who spotted the two. But the crime landed Pardon in prison for nearly 25 years.

When he got out in 2006, he moved to Georgia where he was convicted of forgery and failing to register as a sex offender.

After serving nearly 9 years in prison there, Pardon returned to Ohio last June where he was to serve out his probation under the watch of the state of Ohio.

ODRC has refused to answer additional questions about Pardon’s supervision.

“I feel like the state of Ohio didn’t do its job,” Kennedy said.

Pardon has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, burglary, rape and murder.

He declined an interview request with 10 Investigates.

TRACKING OFFENDERS

Across Ohio, there are roughly 1500 parolees who have violated the terms of their parole and are considered to be at-large, meaning the state of Ohio has no idea where they are.

Not all are sex offenders. But the problem tracking them down mirrors a struggle that happens here in Franklin County.

Here there are roughly 75 to 100 homeless sex offenders, according to the sheriff’s department.

Det. David Cassidy is one of four detectives with the sex offender unit responsible for keeping track of nearly 2,000 sex offenders in the county.

On a recent April morning that felt a lot more like winter, 10 Investigates tagged along with Det. Cassidy as he went on a weekly search for homeless sex offenders in an effort to verify their addresses.

In many of the locations we visited – some along railroad tracks, rivers, behind car dealerships and car washes – we found no one.

Cassidy says that’s quite common.

But in between his normal desk duty and ongoing investigations, Cassidy says he may have to visit a single location as many as 40 times before he presents a case to the prosecutor’s office charging a sex offender with failing to register.

“Prior to filing a warrant for his arrest I believe I checked on him 45 times,” Cassidy says referring to a man who has claimed to live in a bus stop.

There’s no sign of him.

Cassidy says it’s not only hard to find out where these men are living – it’s even harder to predict when one of them might re-offend.

David Shearer's long criminal history dates back more than a decade in both Ohio and California.

In March, Shearer was charged in March with rape. Court records allege he held a woman by her throat and in this park and bound her hands with surgical tubing.

His listed address - the streets of Columbus. Keeping up many of these offenders, Cassidy says is a large task.

“It's just the caseload itself that becomes the challenge.

It's a number of investigations you are conducting at one time that make it somewhat prohibitive to get everybody,” he said.

Harder still, he says, is distinguishing which offenders are homeless and which only claim to be.

In December 2017, Thaddoueas Cameron was charged with rape and 5 counts of gross sexual imposition involving his girlfriend's 6-year old daughter.

He registered his address with the sheriff's office during 2017. And on 5 out of 6 occasions claimed to be homeless, according to records reviewed by 10 Investigates.

But authorities discovered something else shortly after Cameron's arrest in December -- in an email exchange where parole officers told Franklin County sheriff's deputies "the victim’s mother advised the CPD officer/detective that the offender had been staying with her and the victim for some time... and we had him registered homeless."

What's more -- Prosecutor allege the crimes occurred between January and December -- which included a three-month span from March to May when Cameron was under state supervision and wearing a GPS ankle monitor.

"Hopefully what you saw today is the difficulty in tracking some of the changes,” said Minerd.

Chief Deputy Rick Minerd says there are sometimes failures where detectives don't verify an address -- like what happened with Anthony Pardon - who claimed he worked at ABC restrooms. The owner says he did not and the sheriff's department didn't check.

“It's a monumental task. Here in Franklin County, we have nearly 1800 sex offenders. I have four detectives that are responsible for that. So you are talking about over 400 sex offenders per detective,” Minerd said.

The heavy caseloads for both parole officers and law enforcement, sources tell us, translates to less time able to verify each of the sex offenders' whereabouts or understanding what may lead them to re-offend.

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