- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2003

The case of Jose Guillermo Alvarado, a convicted child molester who was indicted last Friday on charges of raping a 5-year-old boy raises disturbing questions about protecting the public from predators who are in the country illegally. The facts of the case are this: In 1997, Alvarado pleaded guilty to fondling a 10-year-old boy in Montgomery County. Circuit Court Judge Warren Donohue sentenced Alvarado to 15 years in prison, with all but 18 months suspended. When Alvarado was released in 1998, he was deported to El Salvador, his native country. However, Alvarado slipped back into this country and went right back to Montgomery County.

Perhaps as early as July 1999, Alvarado illegally re-entered the United States and obtained a work permit from the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Apparently, Alavardo was never fingerprinted. Had he been, his name would have come up as a convicted sex offender, Montgomery County Police Detective Don Inman told The Washington Times yesterday.

Several months ago, Alvarado rented a room in the Rockville home of a woman, and was arrested June 30 on charges of raping her 5-year-old son. If convicted, he faces decades of imprisonment on the new charges, and is likely to be forced to serve the remaining 13-plus years of his sentence for the 1997 conviction. Alvarado also faces federal charges for illegally re-entering the country after deportation.

What’s frightening is that could be just the beginning. Mr. Inman says that Alvarado’s whereabouts prior to this spring remain a mystery. Based on his experience in investigating sex crimes and his oversight of Montgomery’s sex-offender registry, Mr. Inman is convinced that Alvarado may have had contact with other children in Montgomery and elsewhere over the past few years. He is urging anyone with information to come forward. He is also worried that, instead of allowing Alvarado to be tried in Maryland, the federal government may deport him a second time, meaning that he could be walking the streets of Montgomery County once again in a few years — an intolerable outcome.

Federal authorities are investigating the Alvarado case — and well they should, since the federal government has plenty to answer for. But, Montgomery County bears some responsibility as well. First, Judge Donohue should have required Alvarado to serve longer than 18 months in jail — a mere one-tenth of his sentence. Second, Montgomery officials need to ask themselves why illegals like Alvarado are drawn to their jurisdiction. Unfortunately, the county has put out the welcome mat for persons who violate U.S. immigration law. County Executive Doug Duncan, for example, recently announced that the county will accept Mexico’s matricula consular as identification for obtaining county services — even though the FBI has concluded that those ID cards are easy to counterfeit. Until authorities devise a more realistic approach to dealing with illegal immigrants, the area will continue to be a magnet for undesirables like Alvarado.

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