Alias sex offender arrested after I-Team probe
May 9, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- There are nearly 750,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S. But how many of them are using names that are not on state lists of sex offenders when they should be?
A case uncovered by the I-Team offers a disturbing answer.
Laws in Illinois, Indiana and other states require sex offenders to register every year. Those records and photos, now widely available online, are meant to protect the public by notifying them if a potentially dangerous sex offender lives in their community.
Aliases are supposed to be part of the public profile provided by sex offenders with their other personal information. But, as the I-Team has found, that isn't always the case.
Many people have aliases. Unless you are have been convicted of a sex crime. Then, the public is entitled to know all of your names.
There are more than 25,000 names on the list of registered sex offenders in Illinois. Under state law, the offender's name must be provided to police along with e-mail addresses. Instant messaging, chat room and Internet identities must also be given.
That brings us to Lex Fontayne. He has a website, featuring descriptions of himself and the eight books that he has written about dating and relationships.
Fonteyne is also on Facebook and registered on several dating websites, where he describes himself as "only interested in meeting someone local" and that he has "the capacity to enhance another person's life."
But there is one place you won't find Lex Fonteyne registered: on any law enforcement list of convicted sex offenders. That's because Lex Fonteyne is an alias. The I-Team found the man who uses that name working in a vacuum cleaner shop in Crown Point, Indiana.
His real name is Keith Willis, and he is considered by authorities to be a predator. Beginning in 1990, Willis has been convicted of child molesting and sex crimes against children including a 2002 federal case, where in his south suburban apartment the FBI found him in possession of 5,000 images of child pornography -- images including "girls as young as infancy" and "young girls who appear to have been tortured, raped and killed."
Willis got out of prison in 2005 and, because he is a predator, is required for life to register as a sex offender.
"You're registered under Keith Lawrence Willis, is that right?" ABC7's Chuck Goudie asked Willis. "Yes sir," he said.
At first Mr. Willis was forthcoming during the conversation in the store where he works. But what about his alias profile? After all, 56-year old Keith Willis is also Lex Fonteyne, even though Fonteyne claims to be 38.
"Are you also registered under Lex Fonteyne?" Goudie asked Willis. "No sir, I'm not," he responded.
The I-Team started to ask Willis about his other identity, the one he uses on dating websites, since 2008 in social media and as an author, and why he hasn't registered that alias with police as required by law.
Goudie: "Why is that?
Willis: "We have to stop now. I can't go any farther with this, OK?
Goudie: Don't you have to be registered under Lex Fonteyne?
Willis: No sir, that's a pen name. I use that for other things."
Pen names are not exempt under state sex offender registration laws.
Goudie: "You don't want to explain that to me?
Willis: No sir, I don't want to explain anything to you. I'm in the process of getting my registrations all straightened out, and that's all I want to tell you right now."
A few minutes later, Willis, alias Lex Fonteyne, locked up and left, taking his answers with him.
Goudie: "So what would the explanation for it be?
Willis: I've got some stuff I've got to go do."
Last month Mr. Willis reported to Indiana authorities that he moved to a homeless shelter in Chicago. The shelter manager tells the I-Team Willis only stayed there a few times, and state investigators say he never registered as a sex offender in Illinois as required by law.
After learning of the I-Team's investigation, the Illinois attorney general issued a warrant for Willis' arrest. Willis was taken into custody Wednesday by officers assigned to the U.S. Marshal's fugitive task force. He is being held without bond on felony charges that he violated Illinois' sex offender registration act.
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