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June 15, 2006
Minnesota Bats .747 On Missing Sex Offenders

Minnesota has just completed a twelve-day roundup of sex offenders who have failed to keep their registrations up to date. They managed to resolve a little over half of these cases, most of whom just neglected to send their paperwork back on time:

A 12-day sweep by law enforcement officers across Minnesota has rounded up hundreds of sex offenders who failed to keep current with the state's tougher registration requirements, officials said Wednesday.

Of the 636 offenders targeted in the dragnet May 15 through 26, the first such statewide sweep, 219 were brought into compliance, 35 were arrested and 90 cases were forwarded to prosecutors for possible felony charges, said Tim O'Malley, assistant superintendent of the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

Another 215 offenders had responded to reminder mailings sent out before the sweep.

Assuming that the 90 cases referred for felony prosecution have skipped town (since those arrested got counted separately), it means that Minnesota resolved three-quarters of their open cases of registration violations. That's not bad for a specific effort in a short time frame, and of course their effort continues past this point. However, the fact that this many sex offenders had escaped attention for this long should disturb Minnesotans, who rely on this registry to keep them informed of potential trouble in their neighborhoods.

Governor Tim Pawlenty made this special project possible through an executive order, the first of its kind, authorizing $100,000 for overtime and specific costs of the project. Pawlenty's initiative deserves appluase from all quarters, but the legislature should start allocating more money for registration and enforcement efforts. Minnesota has 1,400 non-compliant sex offenders, and while Pawlenty would like to get an on-line database highlighting the cases and asking for tips, that only assists in enforcement. If a one-time expenditure of $100,000 can net 75% of its target cases in twelve days, we surely can afford to spend the relatively minor amount of money to protect ourselves and our children from sexual predators before they victimize more MInnesotans.

We need to send this message to our elected representatives in St. Paul: 1,400 sex offenders left unaccounted is 1,400 too many. Governor Pawlenty did his part, and now the legislature needs to do theirs.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 15, 2006 6:07 AM

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