For any readers that might doubt the public’s willingness to turn over information about registered sex offenders, a recent story should resolve any doubts.
According to Florida authorities, a sex offender had failed to register with his local county. The local sheriff’s office decided to maximize their search by appearing on the local morning radio show. On the air, the sheriff described the man’s physical appearance.
In perhaps no more than a minute, a listener called in and provided the location of a man who fit the sheriff’s description. The sheriff’s office responded to the scene and discovered that the call was accurate. The man was arrested and taken back to the station.
A sex crimes attorney might point out that the man arrested in this story had not committed any new offense against an individual. He had merely failed to register. That obligation falls upon sex offenders every time they move to a new residence. In this case, it’s unclear how much time had elapsed since the man’s last check-in with authorities.
Violation of sex offender registration requirements can result in serious consequences, somewhat similar to probation violations. Unlike probation, however, the registration requirements are generally for life. In this case, the man may have committed a criminal offense by not promptly registering. Yet one wonders whether the sheriff resorts to morning radio show appearances to assist in all of his criminal investigations. There was no new victim in this matter, simply a registration oversight. Yet the sheriff felt compelled to describe the man’s appearance to thousands of listeners over the airwaves.
Source: springhill.wtsp.com, “Unregistered sex offender arrested after detective’s radio blast,” Kristin Weber, Aug. 7, 2013