Faceless Offenders investigation gets state lawmaker’s attention

Posted at 2:14 PM, Feb 04, 2011
and last updated 2012-04-30 14:15:09-04

A NewsChannel 3 investigation into missing sex offender mug shots is getting attention from state lawmakers.

We revealed that nearly 20 of the state’s most violent offenders have no image on the state’s sex offender registry website.

One lawmaker we spoke to said she’s prepared to take action to force state police to post pictures of sex offenders.

Delegate Rosalyn Dance says she was disturbed by our investigation.

She says, “I had no idea that we have that many people that we don’t even know what they look like. I didn’t know that was an issue.”

During the investigation, we found three offender’s photos. But state police refused to use them, saying they can only post sex offender photos if they are recent or attached to the sex offender’s registration papers.

Virginia State Police Sgt. Charles Plaza says, “The couple that are out there like that, I don’t think it’s going to make that much of a difference.”

Dance isn’t satisfied by his response. She says, “Public safety is important to all of us.”

It’s important to Virginia rape survivor Barbara Shine as well. She searches the state sex offender registry hoping to see the face of the man who raped her more than 20 years ago and got away with it.

“He has no picture,” Barbara says.

Even more frustrating is the state police’s response to posting mug shots even if they are old.

Barbara says, “It sounds like too much bureaucracy. It sounds like too many barricades in the way.”

Those barricades are the ones that Del. Dance says she’s determined to tackle.

Dance says, “I see that it’s something that needs to be considered surely by the next session.”

Dance says she’s in talks with the head of the state police about our investigation and what can be done about faceless offenders. She says it may be too late to get anything done during this six-week session in Richmond, but she will make it a priority during the fall legislative session.