Out In Front Of The Story
2014 Annual Report

D.C. Bureau - Under the Radar

Washington D.C.

The Scripps Washington Bureau received a Peabody Award for its “Under the Radar” investigative series exposing problems when convicted military sex offenders return to civilian life. Following an unprecedented review of more than 1,300 military court martial cases, Scripps national investigative correspondent Mark Greenblatt uncovered at least 242 convicted military rapists, child molesters, and other sex offenders who had slipped through what a member of the House Armed Services Committee called a "gaping loophole" in the system. The flaw allows sex offenders to stay off public sex offender registries when they leave the brig, freeing them to re-offend. The series of reports, which aired in November 2014, revealed:

  • The military does not have the ability to add names of sex offenders to any public sex offender registry.
  • State and civilian law enforcement officials are left in the dark.
  • Military legal jargon often does not translate into existing civilian laws.
  • The Department of Defense is exempt from a federal law that requires civilian sex offenders to register while still in confinement.

These flaws in the system have enabled convicted military sex offenders to prey again in stealth. As a result of the “Under the Radar” investigation, bi-partisan legislation has been introduced in both the Senate and House intended to close the dangerous loophole.

The Scripps Washington Bureau is a leading investigative storyteller for Scripps-owned media platforms. The bureau also operates DecodeDC, a podcast and multimedia outlet explaining and demystifying Washington politics, policy and people.


Under the Radar from the D.C. Bureau

Exposing Problems when Convicted Military Sex Offenders Return to Civilian Life
Exposing Problems when Convicted Military Sex Offenders Return to Civilian Life