Prosecutors must do more to track predators

Attorney General Anne Milgram needs to go further with her anti-predator/ MySpace investigation.

As attorney general, she supervises all 21 counties in the state. She has the authority to require all county prosecutors to do more to protect our children from predators both online and off.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in seven children in America between the ages of 10 and 17 is sexually solicited online. To date, approximately 7,000 names of registered sex offenders using the popular site were turned over to law enforcement authorities in all 50 states. Coincidentally, just before the release of the information from MySpace, one of the New Jersey sex offenders was arrested for violating the conditions of parole by accessing the Internet.

Close to 80 percent of the residents of Monmouth County live within a mile of a predator. These predators are mobile. Twenty-five percent will move every year. And when they move, residents should be told.

In this age of the internet, there is no reason not to do more with technology.

The county prosecutor should be required to alert any resident who asks that a registered predator has moved into their community. If the prosecutor cannot do that, the prosecutor should be required to partner with the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that residents who want to know, are alerted when a predator moves into their area.

Some sheriffs already do this in New Jersey. For example, the Passaic County sheriff has a Sex Offender Watch program on its Web site.

The attorney general should adopt a program like this on a statewide basis. The registry allows a parent to enter any local address. It then provides a list of all registered sex offenders living within a one-mile radius of their address within the boundaries of the county.

A parent can also register to be told when a predator moves into their community.

While the county prosecutor’s office has primary Megan’s Law responsibility, there is no reason the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office cannot be utilized to include a Sex Offender Watch e-mail alert system to protect our children from sexual offenders.

Forty-five percent of sexual assaults are on children under 12 years of age. The Monmouth County Sheriff ‘s Office, with encouragement from the attorney general and in partnership with the county prosecutor, should take a lead role in communicating these dangers to the public.

Registered offenders should be told that law enforcement is watching them by partnering with local, state and federal agencies to physically check on registered sex offenders. Not only do we need to know where predators are supposed to be, but we need to check to be sure they are there.

Fifty percent of the sexual predators will strike again and county prosecutors should be encouraged to track convicted child molesters with the latest technology including the use of GPS tracking systems to monitor the criminals most likely to victimize residents again. This will allow law enforcement to track toptier sex offenders at all times. Finally, the attorney general and her prosecutors and police should promote the cell phone Amber Alert program so that our entire community can work together to find missing kids. In the age of technology, law enforcement should strike back with the very same tools the predators are using. We cannot afford not to.

Kim Guadagno

Monmouth Beach

candidate for Monmouth

County sheriff former assistant attorney general

former assistant U.S. attorney