LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A CBS2 investigation recently found a state employee registered sex offender working near children.
But Investigative Reporter David Goldstein never found Errick Lee’s name on Megan’s Law, the public website that lists registered sex offenders, and that has lawmakers concerned.
Lee was put on leave from his $70,000-a-year state job after Goldstein exposed him as a registered sex offender working near kids.
“Do you think it’s wise to be managing a building with a child-care center in it, sir?” asked Goldstein through the door.
Lee managed a state building in downtown Los Angeles that also has a child-care center. Even though he’s not violating any laws, parents never knew about his past.
“It raises a concern for me,” said Valerie Valdez, who drops off her 3-year-old son at the child-care center every day. “The fact that he is in the building and may have access to the daycare is a concern.”
Even if they checked the state’s Megan’s Law website, which most people believe lists all registered sex offenders, the search would show no results.
That’s because Lee was convicted of oral copulation with a person under 18.
And even though he has to register as a sex offender for life, people convicted of that offense and many others aren’t included on Megan’s Law.
In fact, according to the site, there are approximately 83,314 registered sex offenders in California, but 30,646 are excluded.
That’s roughly 37 percent hidden from Megan’s Law.
David Goldstein: Would you expect a crime like oral copulation of a minor to be included on Megan’s Law?
Regina Ramirez: I would hope it would be.
Ramirez hoped Lee’s offense would be public. She used to manage the child-care center and never knew about a sex offender in the building.
“I would think that needs to change,” she said.
“The issue is people just want to know. They feel like they have the right to know. They feel like they need to protect their children,” said former Assemblyman George Runner, who wrote California’s Amber Alert system for abducted children.
He says, at the time, the Legislature decided to make a distinction between certain sex offenses, exempting some lesser ones from public disclosure.
He says that was wrong.
“I think that it should be on the regular offender list and listed on the Megan’s Law and posted, but right now, the Legislature doesn’t see it that way,” he said.
After Goldstein’s investigation, the state, which put Lee in charge of the building with the child-care center, is reviewing his employment status with the possibility of moving him to another site.
The state has given no timetable on when it will make a decision.