Puerto Rico: Sex Offender Paradise

Lax laws send convicts to the island

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 9, 2010 11:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – Sex offenders are flocking to Puerto Rico, lured by laxer laws that allow them to live a more normal life. Here, they're not barred them from living near parks or schools, and failing to register is a misdemeanor, not a felony as it is in most parts of the US. Federal authorities are currently on the trail of 10 offenders they suspect never bothered registering at all, one marshal tells the AP. “I’m sure there’s a bunch more,” he adds. “The internet is there, and these guys are checking to see where the law is weakest.”

Puerto Rican police say that about a half dozen sex offenders do come over from the mainland and register every month. These offenders say they can do things in Puerto Rico that are nearly impossible on the mainland, like buying property—on the mainland, laws restricting where offenders can live drive many to homelessness. “Guys who come down here know they’re not that strict,” says the federal marshal. He says he doesn’t know of any offenders who’ve committed new crimes here.

A couple stands on the beach in Puerto Rico in this file photo.
A couple stands on the beach in Puerto Rico in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
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