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Military sex offenders evade registering on state offender list

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - It is been going on for years, troops convicted of sex crimes in the military have not had to register on sex offender lists  across the country even though civilians are required  to do so.

Officer Neil Scognamiglio is a member of the St. Louis County Police Department.  He said, “One sex offender that’s not registering one too many.”

Officer Scognamiglio like other police check certain homes at least twice a year making sure registered sex offenders are living where they say they are.  Scognamiglio said, “Especially a parent like myself you kind of want to know who’s living around you what they’ve done.”

A map shows the locations of residences of the more than 1,400 registered sex criminals in St. Louis County. It’s a challenge keeping up with all of them.

Officer Shawn McGuire is a spokesman for St. Louis County Police, “The compliance rate in St. Louis County is 98 percent which is very good considering the state of Missouri is 91.3 percent.”

Ever since the sex offender registry became federal law in 2006 sex criminals had to register. The law applied to everyone except millions of folks in the military.  Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill said, “If you’re released in a military prison you can go to any state in the union and the only obligation you’ve had up to now is that you self-report to wherever you go.”

Some military sexual offenders have not self- reported. And, that sends chills down any parent’s spine.  Micah Gray is the father of young children, “There’s no greater instinct I have as a parent than to protect my children.”

This Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Defense investigated and released some disturbing findings in a report.

During a three month period 20% of 197 military offenders failed to register once they were released to civilian life.

Each branch of the service has a different way of registering sex offenders.

The DoD has no jurisdiction to register military sex offenders on the national sex offender registry so military sex offenders evade registration.

We discovered problems locally; at Scott Air Force Base Staff Sgt. Reginald H. Norwood was convicted of indecent exposure. We couldn’t find him on the national or Illinois sex offender registry.

At Whiteman Air Force Base in western Missouri Staff Sgt. Bejnamin A. Feldkamp was court martial and found guilty of a several sex charges. He could not be found on the national or Missouri sex offender list.

Offenders do break the law again. In North Carolina Jesse Camilo Tovar, a Marine, was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman.  When he was released from a military prison he did not register on the civilian sex offender list and went on to assault a child.

Jeanne Gray is a grandmother, “My fear is they’ll get hold of one of grandkids and destroy their lives.”

In March the DoD said it had changed regulations trying to patch the loophole.

In a statement from the DoD said: “Our new policy strengthens cooperation so law ‎enforcement officials can do just that…investigate and enforce the law”

Senator McCaskill along with Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina want the law changed. McCaskill said, “What our legislation will do is put the responsibly on the department of defense so we can keep track of sex offenders who have been locked in a military prison released back into the population.”

Officer Shawn McGuire added, “We haven’t really had any problem with the military offenders.”

Senator McCaskill said the number of sex offenders in the military is small.

But it only takes one to ruin a child’s life.