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Under the Radar

By Mark Greenblatt

In a Peabody Award-winning investigation the Scripps Washington Bureau conducted an exhaustive, unprecedented review of more than 1,300 military court martial cases and discovered at least 242 convicted military rapists, child molesters, and other sex offenders have fallen under the radar and slipped through what a member of the House Armed Services Committee calls a “gaping loophole” in the system.

The series earned a Peabody Award for the investigative team.

Scripps discovered some military sex offenders go on to re-offend in heinous ways on unsuspecting victims in the civilian world.

The Scripps investigation, “Under The Radar” has triggered action at the national, state and local level after exposing several major problems when convicted military sex offenders are returned to civilian life:
– The military does not have the ability to add the name of a sex offender to any public facing sex offender registry.
– State and civilian law enforcement officials are also left in the dark.
– Military jargon often does not translate into existing civilian laws.
– The Department of Defense is exempt from a federal law which requires civilian sex offenders register while still in confinement.

The stories can be found on Scripps television and newspaper websites nationally.

Broadcast News Stories: The following stories were distributed to and in most cases aired on Scripps television stations nationally, which include markets in Denver, Cincinnati, San Diego, Tampa, Phoenix, Bakersfield, Detroit, Tulsa, Kansas City, Cleveland, Buffalo, Baltimore, West Palm Beach, and Indianapolis.

Part One: Hundreds of Military Sex Offenders Slide Under The Public Radar

Part Two: A Failed System Enables Convicted Military Sex Offenders To Prey Again

Part Three: Scripps Continues to Press the Pentagon For Answers

Part Four: U.S. Marshals ‘actively’ investigating military sex offenders on heels of Scripps report

Part Five: Army rapist registers as sex offender following Scripps reports

Part Six: Push to reform military sex offender registration gains bipartisan support

Part Seven: Bipartisan senators introduce legislation to close military sex offender reporting loophole, cite Scripps

Part Eight: Bipartisan House bill would require DOD to publish names of military sex offenders, lawmakers cite Scripps reports

Part Nine: An Animation Explaining the Differences Between Two Very Different House and Senate Solutions, As First Introduced

Part 10: Senate Updates Solution, Passes Amendment 98-0 Closing Military Sex Offender Loophole

Part 11: House passes bill requiring DOD to create military sex offender registry

Part 12: First of two bills closing military sex offender loopholes heads to President Obama’s desk.

Part 13: The President signs bill closing military sex offender loophole

Interactive: A first of its kind searchable database of military sex offenders – Under The Radar.Scripps has created an easy to use website where the public can access our research and use it to protect their families, creating a searchable and interactive tool for the public and law enforcement to use going forward. This tool allows users to search by crime, name of offender, location of court martial, or any other word for all of the 240 + military offenders we found who did not appear on public registries.

DecodeDC – a Podcast: Go “inside” and behind the scenes of the Under The Radar investigation, hear entirely new material, and listen to the story behind the story.

Newspaper/Digital Story: Scripps newspapers and digital websites across the nation published versions of Under The Radar, including extended clips of interviews on their websites. The same story was picked up and distributed by the Tribune wire service which distributes to more than 1,000 clients nationally.

National coverage – following our reporting: MSNBC asked the Scripps Washington Bureau to join them for this live, in-depth conversation about Under the Radar, as the Melissa Harris-Perry Show attempted to highlight the problems Scripps uncovered and push the national conversation forward.

The PBS NewsHour aired this special report nationally. The in-depth segment includes exclusive content from the Scripps Washington Bureau.

Stars and Stripes, the military’s own signature news publication, picked up our story and distributed it to all of its own readers and the Department of Defense community.