July 13, 2010
Posted: 03:23 PM ET
I was reading through a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report about how thousands of registered sex offenders are being issued U.S. passports.
Apparently, the State Department cannot legally deny registered sex offenders from getting a passport. (Though it can legally prevent people from getting passports who have been convicted of "sex tourism" crimes, thanks to a 2008 statute that has cracked down on sex offenders who travel to other countries for the explicit reason of committing sex crimes.)
Still, according to GAO, of the 16 million people who received passports during fiscal year 2008, about 4,500 of them were registered sex offenders.
According to the State Department, that number is "very misleading,"
GAO cites 30 case studies in its report. Many of the offenders mentioned in the report had multiple sex offenses, and used their passports to travel to foreign countries known for sex tourism activity.
This is one case study that GAO documented in its report:
"In the early 2000s, the offender was convicted of two counts of unlawful sexual contact with a minor under 14 years old. The offender pled guilty to molesting two boys, ages 8 and 11. Both victims were friends with the offender¹s son and occasionally spent the night at the offender¹s home. The offender entered his son¹s room during sleepovers and molested the victims while they were sleeping. The offender currently has child support debt of about $21,000 and owed child support at the time the passport was issued.
According to GAO, there is no sex offender registry in Mexico.
Here's my question: Do you think registered sex offenders should be allowed to receive U.S. passports?
From around the web