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Crowded prisons, jails leave sex offenders un-tracked

February 25, 2013|By Paige St. John

STOCKTON -- In 2009, a Sacramento jury convicted Rithy Mam of stalking a 12-year-old girl, shadowing her for months and telling her family he dreamed of her. Three years later, Mam is accused of menacing two other girls, allegedly bribing a toddler with soda and candy to repeatedly slip into their Stockton living room while their parents were out.

California voters in 2006 passed a law to prevent repeat offenses. Jessica’s Law, named after a Florida girl who was raped and killed by a convicted sex offender, requires lifelong GPS monitoring of registered sex offenders.

But now thousands of paroled child molesters, rapists and other high-risk sex offenders in California are disarming their GPS trackers, often with little threat of penalty if caught. See the story here[LINK].

The Times found more than 3,400 cases where fugitives were accused of disabling their GPS devices since October 2011, a 28% increase since the state began referring parole violators to county jails instead of returning them to prison.

The change in law reduced the state’s prison population by an estimated 14,000 inmates but, where county jails are full, resulted in parole violators being set free within a day, if booked at all.

The top executive of the state’s Sex Offender Management Board said the state has also seen a sharp rise in sex offenders failing to comply with another California law: that they register their current addresses with local police.

“They certainly are feeling more bold,” said board coordinator Jack Wallace.

Law enforcement files show that Mam repeatedly fled parole and was arrested and jailed in San Joaquin County last fall. He was released in October after a single day in jail, and according to those records, disabled his GPS tracker the day before the episodes in Stockton began.

The girls reported a stranger entering their living room and menacing them there three times in one week. Three days after the last incident, police found Mam in a local park. He now is jailed on charges of child molestation, corporal injury to a child and contact with a minor for sex.

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