I began working at Inside Edition in 2006 covering everything from entertainment to breaking news, but recently I've been reporting on some truly fascinating stories. Since last year I've been a special correspondent with the show's award winning investigative unit, covering consumer fraud, safety issues, and crimes against women and children. Some of these stories have led to policy changes, better regulation and primarily have shed light on troubling issues that effect many of us.
Last month I travelled to McNeil Island, Washington (dubbed "Sex Offender Island") to learn about that state's Special Commitment Center that indefinitely detains the most violent sexual predators after they've served their sentence. They hope to both treat these "residents" and keep them from reentering society until the system can determine whether or not they're likely to offend again. The cost is approximately $160,000 per resident per year.
Yesterday I appeared as a guest correspondent on an episode of the Dr. Phil show, entitled, "The Predator Next Door," to share this information, but nothing prepared me for the story I just covered in Texas for Inside Edition (airing Monday, May 3rd), and is a shocking reminder of the sex offenders in our communities and their access to our homes and safety. Public records in Texas led us to the discovery of registered sex offenders working in the US Postal Service, delivering mail, unsupervised, into neighborhoods, schools and even an amusement park. On Monday's show I confront these mail carriers and ask whether or not it's safe for sex offenders to deliver mail right to your front door. Wait until you see the official response we got from the Postal Service. Also on Inside Edition Monday, I report on registered sex offenders we found working at major hotel chains with access to guests' room keys and personal information. Unbelievably, some of these predators were given responsibilities, ranging from driving the shuttle vans (requiring access to the cell phone numbers of guests), to working unsupervised on the night shift at the front desk. When I confronted some of the managers of these hotels to ask them why they would hire sex offenders to do these jobs, they seemed more interested in protecting the privacy of their employees rather than protecting the safety of their guests. In fact, in one instance a manager called the police on us and refused to respond to why he would hire a convicted child rapist to work at the front desk of his hotel.
Although we shot these stories in Texas, registered sex offenders are working in hotels and in post office branches throughout the country. We are certainly not saying that registered sex offenders don't deserve to find reasonable employment after they serve their time, but does it make sense for them to have access to personal information and keys at hotels and wear the trusted uniform of a mail carrier in your neighborhood? My facebook fan page has more information about these stories and both of these investigations air Monday on Inside Edition.
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