Some Convicted Sex Offenders Attack Again

CLEVELAND – The likely involvement of a convicted sex offender in the murder of a 14-year-old Wooster girl has raised questions about how and why sex offenders are allowed to attack again.

In an Action News investigation, Ed Gallek found out that only a small percentage of sex offenders who get out of prison actually attack again. Still, authorities encourage people to take action to protect their families.

Last fall, a mother of four was beaten and raped in Downtown Cleveland by a convicted rapist just out of prison.

"From behind he grabbed me by my hair," the victim, who requested to be unidentified, said. "He just kept punching and punching until I thought he was going to beat me to death.

"I thought he was still going to kill me even after it was over."

Even though sheriff's deputies keep tabs on where convicted sex offenders live, they still sometimes turn violent again. To find out how often this happens, Action News dug into the Cuyahoga County sex offender files.

Out of the 1,346 sex offenders that have registered in the county since the program started five years ago, only 118 have gone back to prison. Out of those, only 25 have been convicted of new sex crimes.

"There's no way of knowing what to expect from these people especially in light of the crimes they've already committed," Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department Lt. Doug Burkhart said.

Burkhart said that while there are only a small percentage of repeat sex offenders, people shouldn't let their guard down. He said that you should do some homework because deputies only send out neighborhood warnings about the worst of the worst.

"Call the Sheriff's Department in your local jurisdiction and ask them if they have an offender on your street," Burkhart said. "We'll give the information to them."

Seven local counties also have sex offender information on their Web sites. Click on the links below to access that info: