November 2, 2011

More than 800 sex offenders released from Georgia registry

11-2-2011 Georgia:

ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) - A CBS Atlanta News investigation has uncovered that hundreds of potentially dangerous sex offenders have been removed from Georgia's sex offender registry. Those criminals are unable to be tracked, and in many cases, the records of their horrific crimes have been wiped clean.

The criminals removed from the sex offender registry include child molesters and those convicted of aggravated sodomy and rape.

But if you think you can log onto the Georgia sex offender registry to find those convicts living in your neighborhood, you're wrong. Under new Georgia laws, you may have no way knowing they are living next door.

CBS Atlanta's Chief Investigative Reporter Wendy Saltzman asked John Bankhead, the spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, how someone would know if a child molester was living next door to them.

"You don't, if that person is no longer on the registry," said Bankhead.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed to CBS Atlanta that for a variety of reasons, 809 sex offenders have been removed from the state's registry in the last 15 months.

More than 400 have been removed because they were convicted of misdemeanor crimes. Under Georgia's new law, they are allowed to be released once they complete their sentence.

Some sex offenders were sentenced as first offenders - even in brutal cases where there were multiple victims.

Other sex offenders petitioned a judge to be released from the registry, and CBS Atlanta found even child molesters have successfully petitioned for their removal.

Robert Anderson was one of those convicted sex offenders. In 2002, Anderson was charged with child molestation, aggravated child molestation and rape.

CBS Atlanta spoke to the woman whom Anderson assaulted as a child.

"It started when I was five, and happened all the way until I was 10," said "KiKi," Anderson's victim.

For a period of five years, Anderson molested KiKi hundreds of times. He was the step-father she should have trusted, but feared instead.

"I am lucky because I am alive," she said. "And he didn't kill me or something. Who's to say the next person he won't do that to?"

Anderson is now out of jail, and surprisingly, his criminal history has disappeared from Georgia's sex offender registry.

"To think he is just out and no one knows where he is, it is scary," she said. "He could do it again, and he probably will, if he hasn't already."

CBS Atlanta checked multiple addresses listed for Anderson, but he has seemingly disappeared and could be living right next door to you.

Richard Kelly, another convicted sex offender, was found guilty on two counts of aggravated child molestation for molesting two young kids.

CBS Atlanta spoke with one of Kelly's victims who was just 3-years-old when Kelly, his babysitter, molested him and his sister.

"He is a menace to society right now," said the victim, who didn't want to be identified. "He is a risk to everyone in sight."

Kelly was released in 2007, and now he's nowhere to be found.

Saltzman asked Kelly's victim is he thought Kelly should have been left off the registry.

"I don't think he should have been allowed out of jail," said the victim. "Those should be the people that they give life (in prison)."

Saltzman tracked down other sex offenders who are petitioning the courts claiming they should be off the list, like Michael Tutt, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a child.

Saltzman asked him why he thought he should be allowed off the registry.

"I don't have to talk about this," Tutt replied before shutting the door in Saltzman's face.

Saltzman also talked to the mother of Kelvin Atkinson, a sex offender who pled guilty to one count of child molestation, although investigators believe actually raped several victims.

"Do you think it is safe for him to be off the sex offender registry with other kids?" Saltzman asked Atkinson's mom.

"I have no comment for you or anybody else, so get away from my door," she replied.

Another convicted offender, Charlton Green, was found guilty of sodomy after having sexual relations with an juvenile boy.

"It's not like I am a monster or anything," Green told Saltzman. "It is just like I am doing everything that everyone else around here is doing."

Tracy Alvord, the Executive Director of Georgia's Sex Offender Review Board, admits most people have no idea they may have a convicted sex offender living right next door, next to their child's bus stop or by their school.

"They are no longer being monitored in any kind of way, so they can do whatever they want to do," said Alvord.

Once these offenders are removed from the registry, there is no way to track them, and no one is watching what they are doing.

Saltzman asked Alvord how can someone convicted of child molestation could be removed from the registry.

"And they do ask me that, and I say, ‘I don't remove them from the registry,'" said Alvord.

Those offenders are removed by law, or under the direction of a judge. ..Source.. by Wendy Saltzman

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