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State responds to Action News investigation into sex offenders

Friday, September 21, 2012

An Action News investigation revealed a frightening loophole that lets Fresno County sex offenders walk free, even after violating parole.

Now, state legislators and the people in charge of the parole system are responding.

We showed you two sex offenders Thursday who violated parole with little in the way of consequences.

They're both in jail now after allegedly committing new sex crimes.

Action Newsi reached out to state agencies up to the governor's office to get a response to the issues here in the Valley.

Meanwhile, we discovered a violent episode by another man who probably would've been in prison before AB-109.

State prison was the usual destination for parole violators, until recently.

Registered sex offenders like Mark McDavitt and Gregory Bisel proved that's not necessarily the case any more.

As Action News showed you Thursday, McDavitt and Bisel were in and out of police custody for parole violations that should've been major red flags. But neither man stayed in jail until police said they committed new sex crimes against new victims.

"They're showing us that they still refuse to comply with the rules they've been given to live by," said Lynne Richard-Brown of Advocates for Public Safety.

Her group speaks for law enforcement officers who say the state's prison realignment law, AB-109, and Fresno County jail policy combined to create a loophole those sex offenders jumped through.

Harold Snider is another example.

The 48-year-old had a prior conviction for chasing a 12-year-old girl with his van, as well as indecent exposure.

While out on parole, Fresno police arrested him twice after domestic violence reports.

But AB-109 says parole violators go to county jail, not prison.

Fresno County jail overcrowding means they don't stay in the jail, so Snider was released from jail in less than a day both times.

Six days after his last release, police arrested him for another domestic violence incident -- a new charge that finally got him six years in prison.

"That's horrible," said Assm. David Valadao, (R) Hanford. "That's our biggest problem. It's that little loophole in there that allows these guys to run free."

Valadao said the main problem is federal intervention in our state jail system.

A Supreme Court ruling forced California to reduce jail population.

But Valadao said there has to be a better way.

"109 was written specifically to reduce the population," Valadao said. "That does not help us at all. All that means is they let people out of prison."

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation gave me this response Friday: "CDCR is keenly aware of challenges that have arisen in regards to sex-offender parolees in Fresno County who violate conditions of their parole," said spokesman Luis Patino. "We understand the seriousness of the issues and are working towards quick and effective resolutions. CDCR is working closely with law enforcement leaders in your area, as we do with law enforcement leaders in other counties when any challenges arise. Currently we are considering potential solutions - both local and legislative, to increase public safety in your area."

Advocates for Public Safety say AB-109 has several other problems and we'll continue to monitor those issues here at Action News.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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crimetracker, sex crimes, local, corin hoggard
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