- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 11, 2006

The suspect charged in the May 26 kidnapping, rape and murder of a 20-year-old Clemson University student has also confessed to committing two other sex crimes at about that time, and like most sex offenders, he has a long criminal history involving sex abuse.

DNA has linked Jerry Buck Inman, 35 — described as a “serial sexual predator” by South Carolina authorities — to the abduction, rape and strangling of Tiffany Souers, a junior at Clemson.

Based on confessions Inman reportedly made after his arrest, the district attorney of Sevier County, Tenn., is also seeking charges of aggravated rape and aggravated burglary against him in a May 22 assault there. Inman also has been charged with burglary and attempted rape in a May 23 incident in Rainsville, Ala.

More than 5 percent of convicted sex offenders are rearrested for another sex crime within three years of their release from prison, according to a comprehensive study by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. That makes them four times more likely than people who are not sex offenders to be arrested for sex crimes after their prison discharge.

What’s more, the federal research showed that of the released sex offenders who commit another sex crime, 40 percent perpetrate the new offense within a year of their release.

Data released last year by Canadian researchers, following a meta-analysis of 95 studies involving more than 31,000 sex offenders in North America, Europe and Australia who were followed for a mean of 70 months, found a sex recidivism rate of 14 percent after five years.

According to the Oregon-based Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), a group that says treatment of sex offenders does not replace a criminal justice response, the research literature generally indicates that recidivism rates for untreated sex offenders who primarily target children ranges from 10 percent to 40 percent. The recidivism rate for untreated offenders who target adult women ranges from 7 percent to 35 percent, the ATSA says.

The Justice Department (DOJ) study found that sex offenders with the highest rate of committing another sex crime were those who had a history of prior arrests for various offenses. Inman also meets that qualification.

When Inman entered the Florida prison system in 1989, he was 18 years old and sentenced to serve 130 years for crimes including kidnapping, sexual battery, armed robbery, aggravated assault, grand theft and auto theft. But he was transferred to a North Carolina penitentiary just five months later after being sentenced to 20 years for a sexual assault in that state.

Inman spent nine years in the North Carolina prison and was returned to the Florida corrections system. He was released on Sept. 1, 2005. He served much less time than was originally planned, officials said, because a judge in the case ordered that he serve all his sentences at the same time.

The DOJ study determined that 3.3 percent of sex offenders with one prior arrest were arrested for another sex crime within three years of being released from jail. But the rearrest rate within that time span more than doubled — to 7.4 percent — for convicts with 16 or more previous arrests for different kinds of crimes. When all crimes are included in the analysis, 43 percent of sex offenders are rearrested within three years of their prison release, the federal data showed.

Maxine Stein, chief executive officer of a child-safety group called Stop It Now, said the Inman case exposes the weakness of sex-offender registries, given that “here’s a man who was on the registries of two states” and yet was not blocked from committing crimes that a sex-offender registry is supposedly designed to prevent.

“Clearly, these registries are not working properly,” she said.

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