back to article Megan's Law snafu fingered in rapist's murder

The stabbing death of a convicted rapist 35 days after he was released from prison may have stemmed from a public database that erroneously described him as a child molester, California police say. Michael A. Dodele was found dead in his run-down mobile home on November 20. The cause of death was puncture wounds to his side …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Kill all the Alligators!

    We have to do SOMETHING!!

    Dumas F. Vigilante

  2. Charlie
    Thumb Down

    Genius parenting skills

    "I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces,"

    I'm sure his children will be delighted that instead they're going to grow up with a father in jail for murder.

  3. eurobloke

    So they want Sarah's law?

    This is a classic example why there shouldn't be a Sarah's or indeed a Megan's law.

    It is well known that innocent people get hurt by publishing untrue information, remember the vigilantes to the News of the Screws publishing paedophile information only for half of the info to be wrong.

  4. Morely Dotes


    Vigilantism is wrong behavior, certainly, but rape - a violent crime - is no better, and the "victim" in this case was a repeat rapist.

    It's hard to find any moral outrage in the death of a rapist.

  5. Bruce

    On Sexual Offenders in the US

    This might be more poignant to the readers who are thinking "But I'm not a rapist", when you consider that public urination gets you onto the Sex Offenders registry in the US. And since they've already demonstrated the capability to list people in the wrong class of offence...

  6. Alien8n

    No surprise there then

    This is the very reason why people have campaigned against naming and shaming. Even when the person listed on the database is a child molester there's no guarantee that they don't share their name with someone else living in the same area. There will always be vigilante attacks in every culture and the simple truth is that innocent people WILL be targetted at some point. So this time you have someone who was guilty of an offense, but not the one that was listed on the database. Next time it could be purely because they have the same name as someone on the database.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And is anyone surprised ?

    Much as I find these sort of activities disgusting, it has to be pointed out that it has already been pointed out, that such disclosures were bound to result in vigilante attacks like this.

    So will the state be charged with manslaughter (or whatever they call it over there) ? It would seem to be a reasonable question since they took action that could reasonably be forseen to result in this persons death.

    Somehow I think the answer is likely to be no.

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    One down.......

    Whether this guy committed his crimes against children or adults doesn't make him any more or less evil, the tone of the article implies that he was guilty of multiple crimes and probably a recommitter. His killer is no doubt going to go to prison, after all two wrongs don't make a right but as a father I can understand and even sympathise with his point of view. The victims of sex offenders are all condemned to life sentences, the offenders should be too.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Data Entry error leads to Murder...

    Hmmm... Enjoy the ID Card Database

    But ofcourse, with the Biometrics, our government will never make any mistakes.

  10. Gregory Smith


    Could his name be Buttle?

  11. yeah, right.
    Thumb Down


    Is anyone actually surprised at this result?

    [long post deleted by author]

    It was as predictable as what happens when you apply a spark to a gas leak. Of course, those warning about this very issue were ignored. Now at least one person is dead. I wonder how many more lives will be ruined before something changes?

    Having happened in the US, I wonder if those responsible for the data/website can be sued? Assuming the victim has any relatives, and that the government hasn't exempted itself from any liability for screwing up.

  12. Scott
    Thumb Up

    FINGER it out

    So it's not good to be a rapist of any one, of any age. Might get your name published in a list that some "Sick-O" parent will see, and kill ya.

  13. peter



  14. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    What comes next?

    A multi-billion dollar lawsuit by the 'next of kin' against the State of California?

  15. Dan
    Paris Hilton

    charles bronson

    This is a big step further than that case in the UK several years back of a paediatrician being attacked by an illiterate mob who thought her job was "paedophile".

  16. Eric Olson

    @ Chris G and others

    You might say the system is flawed, maybe it lets people out who shouldn't. But, don't paint all people in jail with the same brush. Many people made mistakes, and paid the price. Don't make them pay it again and again, and then chuckle when some person who spent 42 years of his life in and out of jail gets murdered because of a preceived threat. I mean, if you were a drunk driver who was caught once, and I found out, and because I had a family member killed by a drunk driver, I hunt you down and kill you, would that be fine? I mean, I can point to gristly statistics supporting my view that drunk drivers kill, and by killing you, I save lives. Victims of drunk drivers are "condemned to life sentences" too. So, one drunk driving offense should be your ticket to eventual murder... you know, just to save another life. Even if, hey, you've been sober for 25 years. Cause once a drunk driver, always a drunk driver, right?

  17. Mike Moyle

    Re: One down...

    "The victims of sex offenders are all condemned to life sentences, the offenders should be too."

    I used to have a similar opinion, but a point was made to me that made me change my mind:

    As long as the penalty for rape is less than the penalty for murder, there is no incentive for the rapist to kill. Once the penalties are the same, it is to the assailant's advantage to eliminate the victim/witness, since doing so can reduce the likelihood of later identification and conviction. And if they DO catch you, they can only hang you once, so you're really no worse off.

  18. John Savard Silver badge

    Simple solution

    I should think the way to avoid vigilante attacks like this is obvious.

    Lengthen the sentences for both rapists and child molesters until the recidivism rate is at an acceptable level. Such as 15 parts per million.

    Unfortunately, that isn't likely to happen. If we don't have capital punishment for murders associated with sexual assaults, then a life sentence for rape would encourage rapists to murder their victims. Thus, sadly, we don't have an easy way to avoid exposing women and girls to apparently avoidable risk.

  19. Charles Manning

    @Morely Dotes

    Surely the whole idea with sending someone to prison etc is that the courts have determined a punishment and once that punishment has been served then the person has paid their "debt to society" and they should be accepted back into society with a clean balance sheet.

    Is there really any justification for some vigilante deciding that the court's punishment is insufficient and they need to add their extra bit?

    That does not only apply to murdering ex-cons, but even to those that just run the bloke out of the trailer park.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Chris G

    As a father you're the person most likely to molest and physically abuse your child (or maybe it's uncle) not a rogue child molester and that is one of the most tangiable facts in child abuse. The whole thing is a smoke screen to deflect from that core issue, most child molestation happens in the family. But it's easier to believe in boogey men. Sure they exist but the hysteria around it shows the poor state of social awarness and journalism.

    Also you commit a crime and you go to prison, you serve your time and you leave, possibly rehabilitated possibly not and that's how the world works.

  21. mezla

    Sad lack of Darwinism

    We're master of our domain, us humans. It's a pity, because I'd like to think people that stupid would have died out by now otherwise.

    I can console myself with the fact that they're only American.

  22. Shun F

    Incarcerate? Why not?

    Regardless of whether you believe that this particular individual was bound to rape again, it's a little hypocritical to support the use of murder to prevent a rape.

    We already have the highest rate of incarceration in the U.S., as opposed to other countries. Are U.S.ians just better criminals?

    I love this line, "Police have yet to assign a motive for the slaying" like they need to assign a motive to decide whom to prosecute. "All the physical evidence points to this guy, but gosh darn it, we just can't find a motive. Oh, well, you're free to go." At least we don't have the smartest cops on the planet (that may be contributing to the lack of a functional criminal justice system).

    The core of the story is: he was mis-classified as a threat to juveniles. The fact that he raped adults is, unfortunately, irrelevant. He could have been a bank robber. If he was mis-classified; they got it wrong; period. You would think after 20 years in prison, he would have been unwilling to go back there. Or, he would have been so messed up, he probably wouldn't have been functional, period.

    At any rate, unless you support the death penalty for rapists, and you are willing to carry out that sentence yourself, I don't see how you can support the vigilante. Obviously, living in a trailer park has not made this father any more intelligent. The fact is, any other person living in that trailer park, including the father, would be just as likely to molest his son. [tasteless joke here] I was going to say something about eliminating, I'm going to get enough crap from all the law and order types already.

    Guess which section of the population goes through mucho divorces, domestic violence, and general damage to their families? Cops and prison guards.

    Just who's watching the watchmen? Obviously not the vigilantes.

  23. BitTwister

    @Charles Manning

    > Surely the whole idea with sending someone to prison (...) the person has paid their "debt to society"

    Yes, spot on. This seems to be a view held by fewer people every day (doubtless aided by a mindless, braying media), many of whom would quietly applaud a lawless, vigilante-style murder/tar & feathering of the "perv" after he's been dealt with according to law. Either accept that due punishment has been handed out or get the relevant legislation changed.

  24. Nexox Enigma

    In 1987?

    The guy's last offense was 20 years ago. Seems like he had plenty of time to become a little bit less of a rapist.

    Good thing they don't publish that suspected terrorists list, as that would obviously trigger quite a few witch hunts.

  25. kain preacher


    In the state of California they are using the mental hygiene laws against some sex offenders. THe way it works is this. Lets say you are sentence to 15 years. You do the full 15 and are let out. No parole , probation nothing. Either you agree to be monitored or they toss you in a mental ward till you agree, under the guise of that you a threat to society. THis is for life. You could say leave the state, but then thats not agreeing to be monitored and off you go

  26. Anonymous Coward


    I remember when the law was first being debated. Apparently if you're convicted of statutory rape you're also on the list. And after the database started, one couple had their house burned down, because it was still listed as the home address of a pedophile. If the government is going to post this information online, they have to do it in such a manner that innocent people don't get hurt (and no, I don't necessarily mean that rapist).

  27. Petrea Mitchell

    I accuse the copyeditor

    From the Times article: "But a listing on the Megan's Law website could have left Oliver with the impression that he had abused children because of the way it was written."

    Time to stop saying that bad writing never killed anyone.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Punishment vs protection

    In terms of "punishment", such rapists may have paid their debts, but the issue of protection is different. Andrew Mournian may have served a few weeks punishment for beating up hsi girlfriend, but a mistakenly naive approach to giving him a clean slate (as some here feel is due) led to her being murdered as soom as they let him out. See:

    Vigiliantes may not be the answer, but there are some people for whom throwing away the key (or perhaps in some case castration etc.) may be the only safe option for society,

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Justice may be blind in the court of law

    But in reality, it has eyes...

    Boo hoo, some convicted douche bag rapist meets up up with an unnatural demise. That's Karma... Call me cold blooded but having several friends sexually assaulted, and seeing the aftermath, excuse the hell out of me if I'm just a little less than sympathetic.

    For the individual who thinks some of these predators can be rehabilitated, down to the level of, oh say, 15 per million... Would you welcome one of these animals into your apartment building, with open arms? I certainly wouldn't. So, if one of these bastards manages to put down stakes in my neighborhood, mind if I direct him towards yours?

  30. Gilbert Wham

    Good, bad, or ugly?

    "We already have the highest rate of incarceration in the U.S., as opposed to other countries. Are U.S.ians just better criminals?"

    Er, no. Because they're locked up, they're not counted as good criminals you see. They're a bit rubbish, really, what with the getting caught and all...

  31. Martin Beckett Silver badge

    Won't someone think of the bikes!!

    Didn't the guy knocking off a quick one on his bike ( ) get put on the register.

    I think it should be published - I have young mountain bikes at home....

    Since the children of violent offenders are much more likely to commit violent crimes themselves - presumably the address of the kid should be published so I don't risk living near him.

  32. JK

    Re: So they want Sarah's law?

    "It is well known that innocent people get hurt by publishing untrue information [...]" -- I don't think the guy can be classified as remotely "innocent".

    Like another Reg reader wrote, "It's hard to find any moral outrage in the death of a rapist."

  33. Brett
    Thumb Down

    @Justice may be blind in the court of law

    You are kinda proving the problem with this list. If someone who is put on the list for something minor (not that rape is but I am thinking of the urinating in public) then gets misclassified as a child rapist. People will hate them and their life will be ruined.

    A list such as the sex offenders list can only work if it has the Worst of the Worst(TM) and is accurate. Not fairly accurate but accurate.

    I ask you Annon Coward. Have you ever urinated in public? Well if the answer is yes then it is possible that you could be classified as a child rapist as this case shows. I know the rapist in this case was not urinating in public but it makes it possible.

    Don't even get me started on if an official has a personal grudge with someone.

  34. Eric Olson

    Ah yes, the old NIMBY arguement

    See... when you argue "Not in my backyard," you actually can end up making the problem worse. Read stories of people who were imprisoned who were actually not guilty. You will see a long, sad history of men, mostly, who have no lives, no social skills, drug problem, and no employability. And they end up living on the bottom rung of society, or worse, actually committing a crime, and going back to jail. And those are the innocent who were in jail. Now, in that same environment, put a 15, 20, 25 year old male who did commit a crime, be it drug possession, assault, theft, rape, manslaughter, etc. Do you think someone who had issues beforehand is going to come out of the brutal existence that is prison with a better or worse disposition?

    So, do you just assume then that once you commit, you need to be locked up forever? There is a reason recidivism is such a problem with people who have been in jail. The main reason is they are let out from a place where they were punished instead of rehabilitated. So, they leave prison best case in the same mental and emotional state they went in. The only thing added to that would be a strong desire to never go back, OR even worse mental pathology that will increase recidivism.

    Sexual assault becomes a thorny issue, because the reasons are very often non-sexual in nature, and may mask or exaggerate issues underlying. And as someone pointed out above, regardless of what the media portrays, the typical child abductor/molester/killer is going to be related, or a family friend. Just like if you ask the average moron on the street if a plane or car is safer, they might actually say car... even though you are far less likely to be injured or killed while flying the plane. The most dangerous part of the whole trip is getting to and from the airport. But, the plane crash that kills 100 people is much more highly publicized, but the thousands of highway fatalities each year you never hear about, unless it's a handful at a time. It's sick, and it greatly distorts the world view.

    And the last issue regarding "reporting" laws, like Megan's law, is that you have a list which includes people who may actually not have committed a crime most people would actually consider predation. Like the kid in GA, I believe, who was jailed for having consensual oral sex with a 15 year old while he was 17. He was put on the sex offender registry for that, in addition to being jailed for a few years. Apparently, if he had just had sex with her, it would have only been a misdemeanor instead of felony. A dick in the mouth is a lot worse than a dick in the bush I guess. So his life was ruined. All for the sake of overzealous people who feel that if you commit one crime in your life, you're worth less than the dirt we walk on. And someone who didn't bother to come to terms with his crime might just go out and kill him, not realizing he was a minor when he was with a minor.... just because they freaked out and had an attack of NIMBY....

  35. Ole Juul

    Simple solution

    It's interesting how so many people have simple solutions. My take is that we should just make trailer parks illegal.

  36. heystoopid


    Hmm for real justice the wowser responsible should get the death sentence , failing that listed on the same database with the same details as was erroneously listed on the unfortunate victim of his dumb vendetta rage !

    So thus the cycle of same stupidity continues at a future date !

    Little wonder the Norwegian High Court ruled that the US fails to meet the minimum standards as detailed in the UN conventions !

  37. Anonymous Coward

    I love living in the US

    Every story like this makes me love our genius citizens, immigrant or not, and our lovely, accurate, in-depth, and informative media outlets. I am just happy there was no mention of Michael Vick, Britney, or OJ in this story.

    The story itself is crap and serves no purpose. The dead man...still commited a crime against another person, child or not, and rape is the worst personal crime other than murder. The killer...typical idiot that is given a weapon in this country and has no business being allowed to think on his own. Too much TV make Ivan go crazy.

    In summary, I would like to thank the original writer for weaving this elaborate story together, much like and episode of CSI or Law and Order. I am on the edge of my seat to see what is next!

  38. E

    Open your eyes

    There is a thing called rule of law that whether any of you will admit it, you live in peace by.

    If you really think rapists should be killed, then have the balls to lobby your MPs/Congresspersons/what-have-you for a death penalty law.

    Whether rapists should be killed, I will not comment on. But if you condone vigilante actions, you destroy rule of law. Without rule of law you all live in a jungle. Good luck with that.

    If you can't find it in yourselves to back your words with petitions or citizens initiates for the death penalty - your name signed on a piece of paper for all to see - then you are are either hypocrites or cowards. In either case you should shut the f**k up.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Star Wars angle.

    I think Star Wars: A New Hope says everything about today's society.

    In the original cut, Han Solo cold-bloodedly shot Greedo, who was demanding payment for debts owing to one J Hutt Esq. Over the course of the trilogy, the "bad b@st@rd" Solo was rehabilitated and became a true hero and all-round good egg.

    It was a story of redemption.

    20 years on, a "more mature" Lucas changed his mind. "You can't have him shooting first! That's what Bad Men do!"

    Turn-of-the-century politics doesn't believe in forgiveness, not even in fairy tales....

  40. Anonymous Coward

    RE: charles bronson

    @Dan; actually, the Paediatrician had the word "Paedo" painted on her front door, at which point she decided to move - she was never attacked. See

  41. James

    the only way

    to be sure is to kill everyone !

    I know..... TAXI !

  42. Spleen


    Not nearly ludicrously complicated enough. Here's your coat.

    I wonder if the twits praising this guy noted the fact that the victim was 67 years old. Let's give him a f***ing parade, why don't we. Congratulations, you successfully stabbed a pensioner to death. You are the wind beneath my f***ing wings. For an encore, maybe we can send him back in time so he can beat the killers of James Bulger to death with a baseball bat while they were still ten years old.

    The question of whether Dodele was still a danger to the public is pretty moot. I've yet to hear of an offender successfully raping someone armed with a knife and a bottle of Viagra pills.

    Prison sentences of any length in high-security jails are frequently de facto death sentences anyway, even in the UK, because of the increasing prevalence of HIV and the fact that prison rape is not just tolerated but seen as humorous just desserts even for minor white-collar offences (virtually every thread in any forum about a criminal will include some reference to 'sharing a cell with Bubba'). Not to mention the threat of insanity and/or suicide. As stupid as this was, if you get sent to jail then being misidentified as a sex offender and murdered upon release is the least of your worries.

  43. Mark SPLINTER

    @Morley Dotes

    "It's hard to find any moral outrage in the death of a rapist."

    What about the murder of a rapist who wasn't raping anybody?

    After what you just said, wouldn't it be ironic if you died from a database error yourself. Yes. It would be ironic.

  44. Jon Green

    Oh, congratulations.

    How jolly. Using the word "fingered" in the headline of an article covering the murder of someone convicted of molestation and rape of adults and unjustly accused of the same of children.

    Because that's really something worth a lighthearted pun, no?

    For fsck's sake, have some common decency - some taste, even. I thought the Reg was better than this.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Life is not a Western

    "It's hard to find any moral outrage in the death of a rapist."

    At least two posters have taken this line - one said it, and another quoted it approvingly.

    I strongly disagree. We should be morally upset about any murder. Firstly, because it is against the law. Secondly, because it is wrong for a private citizen to kill another private citizen - that is what the justice system is for.

    It worries me that so many people who comment on threads like this seem to get their moral philosophy wholesale from the John Wayne school of movies. Some people are good (white hats, women, children, nice little Latino hoteliers, etc.) Other people are bad (big ranchers, politicians, lawyers unless they're Jimmy Stewart, and anyone ugly with a gun). All moral problems can be solved by having the good guys kill all the bad guys.

    That was the movies - 1950s style. Real life is rather different.

  46. Paul

    To all those people...

    who seem to support the death of this guy and vigilante actions, how about you come round and live in my area. I have a nebour who's 6'6" 18 stone, an expert Kick boxer and holds a firearms licence.

    Just don't drive to fast down my street, because if you risk our kids lives... Alot more kids die from being run over than are abused...


    Think long and hard about that. I hope it changes your mind about the way you treat people.

  47. Leewok

    Mostly missing the point

    I don't particularly care about a man being murdered in a far away land - didn't know him, probably wouldn't off liked him - thats not the point here.

    The point is a man died at the hands of a scumbag because data integrity issues were not observed. I don't care if karma caught up with him.

    The rabble should not be allowed access to this kind of information because the providers CANNOT get it right initially let alone keep it up to date.

    For all the people dismissing this as someone getting what they deserve I wonder how you will feel when someone with the same name as you is publicly listed as a monster and your neighbour burns down your house

  48. Duncan Hothersall

    No error in the database

    I'm surprised that no-one has yet pointed out that there was no error in the database. The man's offences listed on the db included "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force". Note, "or": EITHER the first thing OR the second thing. In fact his conviction was for the second thing.

    Like the UK sex offenders register, the US version works according to a system of "seriousness" classifications, and in that system, consensual oral sex with a minor is classified at the same "seriousness" level as non-consensual oral sex with an adult. Hence the combined entry for the two.

    So the database entry was entirely correct. The murderer clearly couldn't read properly, but that appears not to be an isolated issue...

    Oh, and @ Jon Green, get over yourself. Moral outrage by proxy is one of humanity's most pointless endeavours.

  49. Jon Green
    Thumb Up

    @ Duncan Hothersall

    "Moral outrage by proxy?" *Snort*

    No, disappointment at the Reg's taste bypass. Get over yourself, yourself.

  50. Mark

    @Morely Dotes

    So if rape is a crime that justifies murder after incarceration, what about murder? Should we kill this idiot because he's killed someone? Or is it OK as long as he didn't rape his victim (though in that case, he would be worse, since he raped AND killed)?

    And, since he's already pissed in the gene pool, remove his mistake and off the kids?

    What if he'd killed YOUR father because of mistaken identity?

  51. dave
    Jobs Horns

    if you're upset at the death of this man

    ...why not have a whip 'round the sixth form common room? You could send flowers.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world...

  52. Alan White

    re: Justice may be blind in the court of law

    The victim might be a rapist, but for a legal system and - I'd say - a society to function fairly crimes have to be judged by the nature of the crime, not the nature of the victim. No-one excuses rape because the victim was in the wrong part of town, or dressed 'promiscuously', or had a long history of sleeping around consensually.

    This guy might have been the scum of the earth, but by the legal system he had been caught, convicted, sentenced and done his time - start ignoring that and you might as well just make the natural progression to the lynch mob.

  53. Frank Bough

    Fighting fire with fire?

    "Would you welcome one of these animals into your apartment building, with open arms? I certainly wouldn't. So, if one of these bastards manages to put down stakes in my neighborhood, mind if I direct him towards yours?"

    If you don't realise that you're already surrounded by 'these animals' every day, then you'll never understand human sexuality and continue to take your idiotic black and white approach to the world.

  54. Mark

    @Chris G

    According to the US official figures, sexual offenders are much less likely to reoffend where the recidivism rate is 5% for sexual offenders (48% vs 68% when you take ANY offense that would be committed, sexual offenders vs all offenders).

    In fact the highest rate of reoffending is for burgulary and mugging. So we should have a "tea-leaf register" so we can ensure we don't risk losing anything to these people. Yes?

  55. Chris Bradshaw


    He raped people (apparently more than once) and was punished, and he served his time. Does him being in jail make the rape victims feel better? How do they feel when he is let out? I think I can make an educated guess on this.

    Now he is a victim of a crime, and the person who did it will (probably, hopefully) serve their time too. I don't have a lot of sympathy for the murderer, but I also don't have much for the rapist. Both thought themselves above the law and above other people. Both did something very wrong.

    My sympathy is for the rape victims. And I would be GLAD if what happened to this rapist makes someone else think twice about committing rape. Even if it was a mistake, it can serve as a deterrent. What goes around comes around - karma.

  56. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  57. Shakje

    While on the subject...

    I agree wholeheartedly that rape is wrong, but another issue that arises out of vigilantism is the perception of wrongness. Since there are no rules written down and agreed upon from years of experience and among a majority of peers, a vigilante can pretty much stick anyone on his list for execution if he can justify to himself that they are doing or have done wrong or are in some way wrong for other reasons (race, religion etc.).

    What confuses me is that some people will argue strenuously against the laws in Islamic countries as being harsh and unfair, and yet will support a vigilante killing a pensioner rapist. By the same logic as this vigilante, locking a woman up for naming a teddybear is perfectly fine, and killing her is even better. It's all about perception, in our society rape is perceived as being pretty much at the top of the food chain for crime, in Sudan, religious crimes such as blasphemy take as high a precedence. Insulting Muhammad is as bad, if not worse than rape to many Sudanese, which surely means it's justifiable to kill her as well, or don't you agree?

  58. dave
    Jobs Horns


    You seem to be completely ignoring the fact that this chap was *already* a repeat offender.

    I'm not sure anyone here is actually advocating the vigilante slaying of various scumbags - those suggesting otherwise are indulging in straw-man arguments.

    How much one really cares in this particular instance is down to the individual. Personally, I don't; I neither condone his killing, nor mourn his loss.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isolated case?

    That said we might as well have our own Megan's Law. If the sex offender's register is secret it'll be lost the same as all other government databases.

  60. Mark

    @Chris Bradshaw

    And how does the rape victim feel better? Revenge. But it's supposed to be JUSTICE. If revenge is a good reason for accepting murder, can I please kill all the invading English that took over the land and pushed the real britons (after slaughtering most of them) into the high places of England and into Wales?

    After all, all I want is a little revenge.

    Oh, if you consider these crimes too far in the past, this ex-rapist was 67 and the crime was decades old. Sounds like it was a long time ago to me.

  61. James Pickett

    News of the World

    "News of the Screws publishing paedophile information only for half of the info to be wrong"

    You mean they got half of something right? Surely shome mishtake...

  62. simon
    Dead Vulture

    plane vs car safety

    "Just like if you ask the average moron on the street if a plane or car is safer, they might actually say car... even though you are far less likely to be injured or killed while flying the plane. The most dangerous part of the whole trip is getting to and from the airport. But, the plane crash that kills 100 people is much more highly publicized, but the thousands of highway fatalities each year you never hear about, unless it's a handful at a time. It's sick, and it greatly distorts the world view."

    It depends on your viewpoint, per passenger mile planes are safer, on a per hour basis you are much more likely to die on the plane.

    The airline industry favors the per passenger mile metric for obvious reasons.

  63. Roger Paul

    Terrible law...

    Megan and Sarah could very easily become synonymous with vigilante. If a person is no longer in jail then the law deems that they have paid their debt and are no longer a threat. If this is not the case, then the system needs to be changed.

    Creating a database with the names of these, now released, people undermines the penal system by not allowing people to make a fresh start once the debt is paid, and as demonstrated here allow people to make their own judgements of what is just.

    If the database should be created in the UK then I would ask for, nay demand, that car thieves and burglars be added so I can 'protect' myself. I'd want anyone convicted of assault, battery or GBH... In fact, thinking about it, I don't give a monkeys about the child molesters, because I'm not a child or a parent. I'll just see myself safe, bollocks to the rest of you.

    Listen to swirling of the ever approaching plughole...

  64. Steve Browne

    Very sorry for you but

    baying for the mob is no answer to societal ills.

    We are not civilised if we freely condone murder.

    Consider the death penalty was abolished many years ago, and is kept that way. A condition of joining the EU is abolition now.

    Besides, it is the duty of the courts to sentence offenders not passers by. Just because this particular crime was really grim, does not confer any rights on anyone else to interfere.

    Either behave in a civil manner or go to gaol.

    I never though we would have so many Sun readers here.

  65. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Perspective on Perception and ITs Reality Management/Mismanagement

    "From the Times article: "But a listing on the Megan's Law website could have left Oliver with the impression that he had abused children because of the way it was written."

    Time to stop saying that bad writing never killed anyone"

    The Times has a certain reputation for very good good writing but it is still just no better than a rag if it carries lies and spin which gets people killed. Do you ever wonder why our dearly beloved leaders dare not go out and down to the pub for a pint with the boys. And they even have the gall to expect the poorest man in the street to pay for their protection even whenever they have been thrown out of office for their deceit and treachery. Honest men and women? Oh please, there are more honest men and women filling up our jails.

    Ok, rant over ....... but it hasn't gone away, you know.

  66. Mark

    Re: plane vs car safety

    But who drives 3,000 miles to australia? More miles are spent on the average plane journey (even if you discount trips of less than 2 miles by car) and so it is far far more dangerous PER JOURNEY by plane.

    It's not like you can decide half way to try something else on a plane journey, is it. So per journey is the relevant stat.

  67. Tawakalna

    The Times we're in..

    much as I'm loth to raise any point of order with my extraterrestrial colleague a manfromMars, I'd amend the phrase "The Times has a certain reputation for very good writing" from the present tense to the past. The Times ceased to be a quality newspaper on the day it was sold to Murdoch's Dark Empire of Lies in 1981, and I stopped buying it on that very day, and defected to the Torygraph where at least the lies only concerns how much starch there was on Mr Chamberlain's wing collar and the social diary of the 13th Duchess of Wimbim.

    As to the article that we're commenting on, I'd have thought that the News of the Screws irresponsible "name and shame" campaign, and the week of violence and chaos that followed Sarah Payne's murder would have been enough to convince anyone with half a brain that a UK "Megan's Law" would be a public order disaster and foolish in the extreme.

  68. A J Stiles

    Already knew Megan's Law was a bad idea

    This guy had raped someone in the past; but the point is, he had already been punished for that. As far as the law is concerned, he *was* innocent. If you don't think he's been punished enough, there are proper channels to go through for changing that.

    I knew from the very beginning that Megan's Law was a really bad idea; because I still remember the day I went into a large electrical retailer in the middle of my home town to purchase a new washing machine and was refused easy payment terms, in front of a storeful of other customers, because someone who used to live at my address ran up a string of bad debts.

    How long is it going to be before CDs containing the details of a motley collection of street-piddlers, bicycle masturbation enthusiasts and so forth go missing?

  69. Bounty

    we don't know

    Anyone else notice he was also held for burglary? We don't know how it went down. Was he caught in the act of stealing, and stabbed the guy? Came up with the vigilante defense? Either way we don't know everything, maybe the old guy was minding his own business... maybe he was harassing and making phone calls to the vgilante's son? We don't know, so it doesn't matter. Giving us so few details is almost as good as telling us a lie. Everyone is filling in the details with their own imigination.

  70. Anonymous Coward

    whatever happened to "Three Strikes"?

    this guy has multiple convictions, obvious to all but the bleeding hearts that he has and will rape again. Or would have.

    This @sshole should *never* have seen the light of day again. For all these weenies cranking up their overwrought "slippery slope" arguments-this guy wasn't a one-time offender, wasn't even a two timer. Nor was there any "mistrial" or "police tampering" or "government conspiracy" that got this guy in prison or on the list in the first place. It was repeated application of some of the most unnecessary and heinous criminal acts possible in America.

    This is how insane the "justice" system has become. The rich and famous get away by applying money and power. Many of the rest get away with less than they deserve thanks to undeserved "sympathy", misguided logical constructions in debates, and a ridiculous amount of psychological assault on the public by people whose interests are best served by criminals.

    Society simply *cannot* function in an environment where most criminals go unpunished. The social experiment of "no death penalty" and "prisons as rehabilitation" has been carried out for *decades* and the empirical results are that the experiment has *failed*. Crime and drain on society has *not* decreased. Society has *not* become safer and more civil. Ex cons are getting *worse* and more numerous. and prison has become less a joke as a deterrent but is now *sought out* as a means to credibility within ever growing criminal organizations.

    In vigilanteism, there's a chance an innocent person will die. In having an effective death penalty, there's a very small chance that a true innocent will get executed. But there is a very very large chance that releasing a repeat offender will end up in a minimum of one innocent death or worse. Many many times larger than the chances of a so-called "innocent" being executed after decades of appeals. (closest thing to "innocence" I've seen bandied about by anti death penalty folks is the perp possibly not committing that exact murder but already having a rap sheet for other killings, and worse).

    More evil b@stards get released to kill more innocents than could possibly every get thru the convoluted legal system or by incidents due to a listing on a website. more children will be harmed guaranteed. let's avoid the knee jerk denial and look at the repeat incidents already on record, as well as the fact that people are doing their best to keep children away from these perverts and evil creatures.

    And if you still can't get some sanity or give up your pro-criminal agenda, pretend this guy was a Catholic priest. All the Media's programming over decades to create hatred of the church should come in handy sometime.

    My biggest issue about this particular incident? A father shouldn't be so stupid. Unfortunately, like Hollywood parents who buy their African children or spawn 'em out with their backup dancers, intelligence isn't a requirement for breeding. Leave it to us childless folks to do the risky stuff. As Mel Gibson said in "The Patriot": "I'm a parent..I haven't the luxury of principles."

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward

    I don't know how you got a death penalty angle out of this since he'd never have been executed anyway.

    Beyond that you're right on one thing. Over here when people talk about implementing a megans law equivalent they always say it would only be for extremely dangerous repeat sex offenders. There is a simpler and safer reaction to such people it is called not letting them out.

  72. Dave Harland

    Rapists are not rational.

    "As long as the penalty for rape is less than the penalty for murder, there is no incentive for the rapist to kill. Once the penalties are the same, it is to the assailant's advantage to eliminate the victim/witness, since doing so can reduce the likelihood of later identification and conviction."

    This is demonstrably untrue, in every sense. Potential penalties have little to no effect on criminal actions. It's disturbing how people constantly infer rational motives for irrational acts. Many rapists do kill their victims, despite the fact that the penalties for murder are much higher than for rape. Violent criminals don't stay up at night doing cost-benefit analyses and risk-reduction planning for their next attack. (Only organized criminals, aka polititians, do that sort of thinking.) They're driven by irrational impulse, and if they do even think about the possibility of being caught, they typically believe that they're clever enough not to be. There is no recorded instance where increased severity of penalties caused an increase in violence. They are invariably the result of increases in violence.

    And in any case, killing the victim doesn't reduce the likelihood of being identified and arrested. In fact, chances are that it's just the opposite. Murders, particularly those with aggravating circumstances like rape, are treated as a higher priority by most law-enforcement organizations; and the vast majority of rapists and murderers tend to leave quite a lot of personally identifying evidence behind -- increasingly so as technology improves. On top of that, in the US, there is no statute of limitations on murder. There is, however, in the marjoity of US states, a statute of limitations on rape of an adult, (although typically none on rape of a chlid or minor). Limits vary from 1 year to 20 years, with the average being 7 years. Furthermore, in some states, murder committed during the commission of another felony (such as rape or armed robbery) is an almost automatic death penalty if convicted.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets see now ...

    In the USA anyway,

    I can get drunk, have an accident and kill or maim someone and my name doesn't have to go on a list, I'm even still allowed by buy alcohol.

    I can kill, torture or maim someone on purpose and my name doesn't have to go on a list.

    I can sell your kids drugs across the street from their school, but my name doesn't have to go on a list.

    I can break into your house, steal stuff and damage property, but my name doesn't have to go on a list.

    But heaven help me if I take a leak in public, my name is forever on the list as a sex offender.

    Does anyone else see a problem here?

  74. Luther Blissett

    Time to abolish "sex offences"?

    Rape, the primary sex offence, constitutes an assault, and could be prosecuted as such.

    It would make conviction easier, by disallowing the mens rea defence (ie "I believe/d s/he consented"), and avoid the ongoing trauma and stigma suffered by victims _after_ the event, such as dealing with sceptical police (they have seen more false rape accusations than they care to admit), calumnous barristers (insinuations made after prying into the sexual history of the victim, sometimes after days in the witness box), and emotive societal attitudes which frequently result in the victim kept at arms length and sometimes abandoned (and sometimes killed) by the people one might expect to be most supportive. Sometimes rape does seem to result in a life sentence for the victim, and the perpetrator is not the only one to blame.

    Instead, the category of "sex crime" is widened (to include, viz above, urinating in public). Indeed, the category of "sex" as a behaviour is also widened (viz, Bill and Monica). And HMG keeps muttering about skewing the legal process of rape trials to get more convictions e.g. expert testimony on how rape affects the victim (as if victims of muggings or battery can always skip away after giving evidence). And that is before we get to the IT angle and its fubars - garbage data, misinformation, privacy, etc.

    If rapes were to be prosecuted as assaults, would there be other behaviour(s) that would still constitute "sex crimes" - or has this concept taken over reality, and propelled itself well and truly into the hyperreal?

    There comes a time when there's no more point nailing another plank to a totem pole to keep it upright and looking straight.

  75. Alex

    Re: we don't know

    You don't have to steal anything to commit burglary. The legal meaning is basically the same as Breaking and Entering.

  76. Ishkandar


    Well, some of you are trying to justify the correctness of the 9/11 bombings !! Well, the Americans killed our people so we'll kill some of theirs !! Who cares about the rule of law !!

  77. amanfromMars Silver badge

    @The Times we're in

    I stand corrected and graciously concede the point, Tawakalna. We could sort of meet half way though and agree that the Lies are well written. :-)?

    However, flogging a dead horse never helped anyone so we splitting such fine hairs would, I concede, be merely for further amusement in the light of and at the expense of a misfortune, and there are better things for us all to do, I'm sure.

    Maybe young Mr Murdoch will sweep away all the dead brushwood and fawning sycophancy and resurrect IT to a Glorious Past Future in a more Intellectual Propriety which Leads Novel Innovation rather than Following Established and Establishment Trends? We would all surely be better Served and Servered with such?

  78. triky


    too many comments to find the one i wanted to quote but someone was saying something about murder being a harsher crime (fair enough) than rape and therefore the penalties should be proportionate to the crime.

    none the less, the rape victim has to live the rest of their life with that rape, which to me seems like living death anyway, while the murder victim is dead and doesnt need to feel anything at all. shouldn't that call for the same type of penalty imposed on the perpetrator of a rape (and especially a repeat offender) as for murder? that is, aside from the death penalty, which I cannot agree with, but a life sentence...

    oh, and ishkandar: you seem to forget that the US is only 200 or so years old and its population is most likely comprised of people representing all the races and ethnicities of all the other nationalities in the world, be they new immigrants or descendants, so 'your people', whoever they may be, probably killed the descendants of your own people.

  79. John Foo
    Thumb Down


    fscking simple and not subject to discussion in anyway

    the victim (yes, whatever his crimes were, he is the victim) as i understand had done its time. which means that on a legal point of view, he was a normal citizen. no more, no less.

    he has been killed. period. this is a not even murder, this is assasination (as the suspect has clearly stated). the suspect should be judged, and if sufficiant proof are brought, convicted. period

    that's how law works.

    whatever the reason of the act is, the sole point we have to consider is "lawful or not"

  80. Tim Lane


    This story has absolutely no redeeming features. Rapist Killed by vigilante due to admin error.

    The rapist was wrong to rape,

    The murderer (Whatever the motivation, thats what he is) was wrong to murder.

    The people who's (real) crimes led to the introduction of the database are evil.

    The database shouldn't exist with or without errors, because as far as I can see its sole purpose must be to promote vigilanteism. Did they think that upon finding a neigbour on the list people would politely ask them if they mind not molesting their children.

    So there is nothing to redeem anyone involved.

    Please can we have a story that will give me some hope that we are not spiralling into the abyss? It is Christmas afterall.

  81. Taskis

    But nobody *asked* you to sympathise...

    These posts seems to fall, in general, into two categories: those who're criticising the vigilante for taking matters into his own hands, and those who want to express their lack of sympathy for the murder victim.

    Well, I'm in both categories. But as far as I can tell, there's nothing in the article asking us to be sympathetic towards the dead guy. I don't particularly care what happens to someone with a history like that. But that's not the point. The point is that this 'concerned father' allowed anger and fear (two characteristics becoming depressingly dominant in both US and UK at the moment) to move him to commit murder and thus make himself a criminal - even if in his own eyes he was some sort of 'hero'.

    If we live in an ordered society (and contrary to popular belief around here, 'order' doesn't necessarily equate to totalitarianism), and if we claim to be civilised, then we can't simply ignore the rule of law when we decide we're not satisfied with the justice system. It's often said that the public shouldn't take the law into their own hands - but where else should the law be in a democracy? In fact, the law *should* be in the hands of the public. As Robert Peel said, the police are only those members of the public who devote their full-time attention to the duties incumbent on ALL citizens - such as upholding laws which are subject to the collective democratic will of the people. The law should be in the public's hands *collectively*, not individually - and one member of the public acting on the basis of his or her own fear, anger, frustration or whatever else, does not have the right to re-write or claim exemption from the law.

    The history of the victim is irrelevant here, except insofar as it is the root of the motive. But beyond that, it's not a factor. What's relevant is that this guy has demonstrated why a) he's dangerous; and b) Megan's/Sarah's laws are a really, tremendously bad idea until the public show as willing to accept responsibilities as they are to claim rights.

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