BOSTON (CBS) – The purpose of the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry is to keep track of where dangerous sex offenders are, but what if they have no address? That’s the case with Lionel Braithwaite, who was arraigned Tuesday, accused of kidnapping two twelve-year-old sisters in Cambridge before they were able to break free. He’s listed on the Sex Offender Registry as “homeless” in Boston.
“These folks don’t have a place to go. They don’t have a home. They don’t have families in a lot of ways,” said Mayor Marty Walsh. “So unfortunately they end up in the system.”
The I-Team found more than a quarter of the names on the Sex Offender Registry in Boston are listed as homeless. Some say “not mappable”. Some list shelter addresses like the Pine Street Inn, and the Southampton Street Shelter. Out of a total of 674 Boston sex offenders, 176 are homeless.
“This is the type of criminal who wants to do anything but tell us where they are,” said victims’ advocate Wendy Murphy. “Yet we’re giving them the power to game the system.”
She is pushing for a solution. “If you say that you live in a place that isn’t on a map, or any one of these other tricks, then you should have to live on a bracelet, you should have a GPS device attached to your body.”
According to the Sex Offender Registry Board, Boston Police are trying to address the problem. They currently have a federal grant to help cover overtime costs so officers can check up on homeless sex offenders. The Registry Board says it “…works closely with local and state police to provide them with accurate and timely information that helps police officers determine whether a homeless offender is in violation of their requirement to register.”
Homeless sex offenders are required to check in with the state registry to verify their information every 30 days.