This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.
A tragic case in California has put a spotlight on the issue of sex offenders and the registries that are supposed to keep track of where they’re living.
In theory, sex offender registries provide a measure of comfort for citizens, assurance that someone, somewhere is keeping tabs on those who have preyed on the more vulnerable in the past and may again.
But in practice, that’s often not the case. That’s been all too painfully pointed out in California, which has been requiring sex offenders to register with local authorities for 50 years and has been making the information available to the public since the mid-1990s.
The man charged with the murder of 17-year-old San Diego honors student Chelsea King was registered as a sex offender – just not in Chelsea’s county. When police started looking at local sex offenders, John Albert Gardner III’s name didn’t come up. Now Gardner is a suspect in crimes involving other girls in the area – girls who bear striking resemblances to Chelsea King. Read more »