July 6, 2012

Follow Up: Local 12 Reporter's Name Confused With Sex Offender

7-6-2012 Ohio:

In early May we told you about a disturbing problem affecting one of our own here at Local 12. For almost four years, Reporter Rich Jaffe has been working with authorities to clear his name from a mistake that had a convicted sex offender's face and identity come up when law enforcement ran Rich's Social Security number.

Rich, who is not a sex offender, never was, and now thanks to the efforts of multiple different agencies, will no longer appear to be one in the national computer systems. Apparently this problem pops up more frequently than anyone knew, and you can only imagine how much trouble it can cause, especially because most people will never know about it, until they get stopped by police, and then the nightmare begins.

According to investigators, the problem began in 2003 when police in Casa Grande, Arizona arrested child molester John Ponsart on drug charges. On the arrest documents, Rich's Social Security number was somehow written down as Ponsarts, could have been a mistake by the officer, Ponsart could have lied, either way, the damage was done.

A few years ago while filing documents in Clermont County, sheriff's investigators ran Rich's Social Security number and up came the convicted sex offenders name and face. For months we tried to fix it and it didn't work. A couple years later, Georgetown Police Chief Buddy Coburn was shocked when the same information came up on his computer. "When that popped up I got kind of a sick feeling in my stomach, my initial thought was, what the heck? I wanted to think this can't be right."

After multiple attempts to get my information off the Arizona state sex offenders website, tied to John Ponsarts name, Rich enlisted the aid of Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine. He found Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Identification gets about a dozen calls a month from people in similar situations. "That sex offender or that violent offender could end up with an active warrant and you're gonna be looking at yourself handcuffed in the back of a cruiser trying to explain it."

To try and solve the problem, Rich also reached out to the FBI. Between the Clermont County Sheriff's office, the Ohio Attorney General, and the FBI, officials in Pinal County Arizona recently went back into the records and fixed the incorrect information on John Ponsarts record. In the last few weeks Rich got a phone call from the FBI, a confirmation email from Clermont County and this email from the Attorney General's office. "Jaffe's SSN is no longer listed on the record of John Ponsart. Mr. Jaffe should not have any further problems concerning his SSN being listed on this Arizona record."

Investigators tell Rich that this kind of problem is much easier to resolve if it all takes place in the state where you live. If it does contact your Attorney Generals office. Rich's biggest problem was that the mistake was made in Arizona. Even the woman at the FBI who called me to tell me it had been fixed said, "this doesn't happen very often." ..Source.. by WKRC.com

No comments: