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A sex offender loophole

From an editorial Friday in the Fayetteville Observer:

While most members of the military serve with honor, some disgrace the uniform with criminal activity.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice sets out guidelines for offenders’ discipline and their transition out of the armed services. Sexual offenders are required to register.

But expecting a group that includes rapists and child molesters to follow the rules is naive. They would rather blend back into society without any scarlet letter. Many sex offenders experience incurable behavioral urges to harm others. Hundreds leaving the military have evaded registration. Some have re-offended.

A bipartisan group of senators wants to change that. Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, calls it a “horrendous gap” in the current law. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, says it’s an “egregious loophole.”

Their solution is to have the Department of Defense register sex offenders with the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, an approach the Pentagon welcomes.

Communities are proud to serve as homes for military retirees. But the welcome mat does not extend to those without honor who conceal their crimes. Expecting offenders to register was foolish. This reform would fix that mistake.