State goes after sex offenders
The attorney general is giving them until Jan. 13 to voluntarily comply with the registration law
The state attorney general is cracking down on sex offenders who have failed to comply with registration laws.
"We want to send a message to Hawaii's sex offenders: If you don't comply with registration laws, you're going to be prosecuted, you're going to be convicted and you face the very strong likelihood that you are going to jail," Attorney General Mark Bennett said yesterday at a news conference.
An Oahu grand jury recently indicted nine convicted felon sex offenders for "intentionally or knowingly" failing to comply with the offender registration requirements. Police arrested two of the nine -- Jerry Lee and Bruce Ohlwhine -- two days ago.
9 CHARGED WITH NONCOMPLIANCE
Nine sex offenders were indicted on Dec. 7 for failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements.
» Monivong Chandara, 37: Convicted in July 1995 of two counts of second-degree sexual assault
» Donald D. Duh, 37: Convicted in 1993 of six counts of second-degree sexual assault
» Loveni Iosefa, 35: Convicted in February 1995 of two counts of second-degree and third-degree sexual assault
» Jerry Lee, 40: Convicted in May 1984 of first-degree sex abuse. Police arrested Lee on Tuesday.
» Dennis Medina, 59: Convicted in March 1985 of second-degree rape. Medina was also convicted in April 1993 of fourth-degree sexual assault.
» Ronald R. Moreno, 43: Convicted in August 1990 of second-degree sexual assault
» Bruce Ohlwine, 40: Convicted in January 1992 of two counts of second-degree and two counts of third-degree sexual assault. Police arrested Ohlwine on Tuesday.
» Lester Pascual, 48: Convicted in August 1997 of second-degree sexual assault
» Johnny Torres Jr., 43: Convicted in November 1992 of two counts of second-degree and two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault
Bench warrants were issued for the seven remaining men, with bail for each offender set at $10,000. "We expect the other seven to be arrested," Bennett said.
The Department of the Attorney General also is aggressively seeking other sex offenders who have never registered.
Letters were sent yesterday to 274 sex offenders. A large percentage of these offenders were convicted before the registration law took effect, Bennett said, "so we are giving these individuals one chance to come into compliance with our sex offender laws."
"The more information we have about where these individuals live and work, the more we can better protect Hawaii's parents and children, and the more likely it is that Hawaii's parents and children can protect themselves," he said.
The offenders have until Jan. 13 to voluntarily register to remain in compliance with the law, Bennett said.
Officials also added a new section to the sex offender registry Web site that includes the names and photos of 343 noncompliant sex offenders. Those under the designated list have failed to complete or update registration requirements or have failed to comply with the sex offender law.
The Department of the Attorney General is asking the public to call 587-3100 if they know the whereabouts of the listed offenders.
"We have seen in the last couple of years instances where noncompliant sex offenders have committed new offenses. We know that sex offenders have a high recidivism rate," Bennett said. "We also know the best way to ensure that they don't re-offend is to have them in compliance with registration requirements."
City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle commended the attorney general's office for addressing the issue.
"We think their leadership has been remarkable, and we plan to do everything we can to help them in their efforts," Carlisle said.
Offenders who fail to comply with the registration laws, which is considered a Class C felony, face a maximum of five years in prison.
Maj. Debora Tandal, who is in charge of the Honolulu Police Department's Records and Identification Section, said the public's help is necessary to make the community safe, especially for children.
The public sex-offender registry Web site has received more than 4 million hits since it became available in May, when Gov. Linda Lingle signed a law to increase public access to sex offender registration information, Bennett said.
Bennett said they plan to approach lawmakers next year to request some technical changes to the registration law. Officials want to add to the list of offenses that can be charged relating to registration information violations.
According to the Department of the Attorney General, about 2,164 registered sex offenders reside in Hawaii. Of that number, about 1,468 are listed on the Web site.
Information on about 1,791 offenders, including those on the Web site, are listed in public terminals at designated police stations in each county and at the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center.