- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2005

BALTIMORE (AP) — Convicted child molesters would be required to wear bracelets enabling authorities to track them by satellite for the rest of their lives under a proposal announced by Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley.

The proposal, part of a six-point plan for improving the monitoring of the state’s sexual predators, is similar to a policy enacted in Florida, New Jersey, Alabama, Missouri, Ohio and Oklahoma.

Laws calling for the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are named for Jessica Lunsford, a 9-year-old Florida girl who was raped and killed by a registered sex offender.

In Maryland, concern about the need for closer monitoring of convicted sexual offenders grew after the arrest last month of Carl Preston Evans Jr. on charges of killing his 13-year-old stepdaughter.

Evans is a convicted rapist who was required by state law to register with the Maryland Sex Offender Registry. After his arrest, it was discovered that his name was misspelled on the registry and that the listed address was inaccurate.

State officials acknowledged that flawed data could affect nearly one in five of the more than 4,300 offenders in the online database set up to tell communities about where these criminals are living.

“This threat posed by sexual offenders, particularly those who harm children… requires us all to dig deep and raise the bar and raise our levels of activities so that we can protect parents and their kids,” Mr. O’Malley said Tuesday.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican and the mayor’s political rival, plans to release by the end of the week his own plan for the comprehensive reform of the state registry and other state efforts to prevent sexual predators from striking again, said spokeswoman Shareese N. DeLeaver.

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, is considered a potential candidate for governor.

In addition, a task force studying the use of GPS technology to monitor tracking all types of offenders, including sexual predators, is scheduled to release its findings in December.

City officials said that 1,700 of the state’s registered sex offenders are in Baltimore and that 900 of those are child sex offenders.

Police recently performed spot checks on 115 child sex offenders, said Deputy Commissioner Marcus Brown. Officers could not confirm the addresses of 20 of the offenders and are pursuing arrest warrants.

Noting that the city uses GPS technology to track its trash trucks, Mr. O’Malley said the same technology ought to be used to tell whether child sex offenders are hanging out at schools or playgrounds.

It would cost $4 a day for each offender — about $6.3 million for the state per year, the mayor said.

Mr. O’Malley also wants to make it a felony when sex offenders fail to register an accurate address. It is now a misdemeanor under state law.

He said he also would like to see improved communication between state and local agencies and to give citizens easier access to the registry by allowing them to type in their addresses rather than ZIP codes or the names of sex offenders.

The mayor’s father-in-law, Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., has said he will push for legislation that would require the lifetime supervision of violent sex offenders, possibly using GPS technology.

Also on Tuesday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger backed two bills that would require GPS monitoring of sex offenders in his state.

Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, said he would take the issue to the people as an initiative if lawmakers do not pass the bills.

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