Marines keeping sex offenders off Kaneohe base


POSTED: Sunday, April 12, 2009

Marine Corps officials say they have “;fully complied”; with a Pentagon policy that bans registered sex offenders from living at or visiting Navy and Marine Corps housing and other base facilities.

The policy was put into effect Oct. 7 by then Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter, who has since resigned.

At Kaneohe Bay, 2nd Lt. Justine Cabulong said officials are “;screening all current housing residents and applicants using prescribed lists of registered sex offenders. Marine Corps Base Hawaii will continue to screen applicants in accordance with this policy.”;

However, Agnes Tauyan, spokeswoman for Navy Region Hawaii, said: “;We're awaiting official guidance on how to implement this requirement. ...

...”;Until we receive official guidance on this requirement, all matters are reviewed on a case-by-case basis to ensure the safety and security of our sailors, their families and our civilian employees.”;

Cabulong said, “;Various state and local databases are authorized for use in identifying convicted sex offenders. Content of these databases is not controlled by the United States Marine Corps. However, prior to taking action for an identified sex offender on any such database, a thorough validation of that person's status as a convicted sex offender would occur.”;

Winter said in October that he wanted the policy to be implemented by the Navy by Dec. 31.

“;To the maximum extent permitted by law or otherwise waived by competent authority, sex offenders are to be identified and prohibited from access to DON (Department of Navy) facilities,”; said Winter in his far-reaching October memorandum to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway.

Winter, in his policy memo, said the term “;sex offender”; is defined as a person having been convicted of a criminal offense, and applies to all persons who are required to be registered as sex offenders.

Winter's directive is based on federal guidelines contained in the “;National Guidelines for Sex Offender Registry and Notification”; issued in June.

In addition, sex offenders shall not be allowed to enlist or processed for commissioning within the Navy or Marine Corps, Winter's memo states.

Navy or Marine Corps members who are convicted of a sex offense while on active duty or in a reserve status and who are not punitively discharged shall be processed for administrative separation.

Any registered sex offenders living on a Marine base or public-private venture housing must move out.

The Web site FamilyWatchdog.com lists about 100 registered sex offenders living in the Kailua-Kaneohe area, but none on the Marine base.