William Carl Welsh, a predatory sex offender with multiple convictions for abusing boys in Oregon and California, was required to register for life.
On April 3, 2009, he submitted the usual registration form to the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office. But that same day, he convinced his county mental health worker to help him get a passport.
Welsh had told his Clatsop Behavioral Care case manager that he had lost his ID and couldn’t get a new one from the state without a birth certificate or passport.
Three months later on July 15, he took a cab from his home in Warrenton to Portland International Airport. He bought an airline ticket and flew to Belize.
Welsh later admitted he took $10,000 with him and rented an apartment there. He said he planned to find work on a commercial fishing vessel and “start a new life.”
Welsh’s case reveals how some sex offenders don’t stop at state borders, but dodge their registration requirements by taking off to another country.
Federal agencies conduct checks of commercial airline passenger lists to determine if a passenger is on a terrorist watch, is wanted or has a warrant out for their arrest. But those checks rely on information in an FBI database and public sex offender registries that are incomplete and outdated, according to a study this year (Feb 2013) by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The U.S. Department of Justice has adopted guidelines requiring registered sex offenders to provide local police with 21 days’ advance notice of any international travel, but most states “have limited mechanisms in place to enforce the self-reporting requirement,” the study found.
The FBI is developing a better international tracking system to identify sex offenders leaving and returning to the country. It would send an automated notification to the U.S. Marshals Service where the offender last registered.
Oregon put out a warrant for Welsh. He remained in Belize until his arrest on Sept. 30, 2009. He was expelled from Belize and taken into custody once he returned to the United States.
During a jail interview with detectives from the Oregon State Police and Seaside Police Department, Welsh said he left the country because he believed that his Oregon parole officer was out to get him.
He also mistakenly believed that Belize had no extradition treaty with the United States. He told detectives, according to court records, “that he should have gone to Brazil instead.”
The government called Welsh not only a predatory sex offender — who preyed on adolescent boys by luring them with money, beer, cigarettes and porn magazines — but a “recidivist sex offender against minors.”
Just before Welsh left for Belize, he failed a polygraph exam when questioned whether he was continuing to expose himself to minors.
A federal judge sentenced Welsh in January 2011 for failure to register as a sex offender by leaving the country without permission and failing to let authorities know. Now 59, he got nearly two years in prison, followed by a life term of supervision. ..Source.. by Maxine Bernstein