Because of confusing paperwork and little follow through, several military sex offenders fall through the cracks and never get on state registries.
USA Today reported when a sex offender is released from a military prison, the Department of Defense asks where the former soldier plans on relocating. It then sends that community a letter, informing them of the pending arrival of the offender. Department officials provide little follow through and rarely confirm that the former military member has arrived as expected.
The result is a nationwide problem that the Department of Defense Inspector General has admitted exists. Although unintended, the military’s present policy permits sex offenders to avoid registration.
The military’s own data shows that around 40% of its inmates are required to register as sex offenders. However in 2013, a U.S. Marshals Service review revealed as much as 20% never do.
Ironically, the Department of Defense is not breaking any laws. Not only is it not required to register a sex offender, it doesn’t even have the ability to do so. Several lawmakers say it is time to make a change.
“I want to require everyone before they’re released from military prison to be fingerprinted, to have their DNA taken and to be identified as a sexual predator,” said Rep. Jackie Speier.
Case in point, Basil Kingsberry, a former Army specialist convicted of rape and forcible sodomy, told the military he was headed to Mississippi. Instead, he ended up in Georgia. When USA Today began reporting this story, he was not listed on the Georgia Sex Offender Registry.
“This is a sex offender who has fallen between the cracks,” said Georgia Bureau of Investigations Director Vernon Keenan, head of the agency responsible for maintaining the statewide registry.
The Bureau claimed that the military’s paperwork on Kingsberry was confusing and led their investigators to believe that his conviction had been set aside or overturned. “Two occasions we asked the military to provide us with further documentation regarding his offense and conviction,” Keenan said. “We did not receive any additional paperwork.”
It resulted in the Bureau telling Kingsberry that he did not need to register.
According to Kingsberry’s Facebook page, he attended Chattahoochee Tech in Marietta, Georgia. Other sources revealed he was convicted in Fulton County for soliciting an undercover officer for sex. He was also arrested last October in South Carolina for assault and battery.
After constant badgering from USA Today, Kingsberry finally registered in Georgia. The state’s Bureau of Investigation admitted they did not even know Kingsberry was back in Georgia. The law enforcement officers in DeKalb County said they were not looking for him. However, they were all thankful for his phone call, asking if he could register.