View Full Version : Witness Protection Program & Sex Offender(s) [DISCLAIMER: Long Read]

Travis J. Smith
05-15-2009, 12:37 AM
It's been a month or more since I last wrote, so my mind's been bustling with the traffic of inspiration without the ability to leap onto the page. Just the other day, I had one of those wondrous moments where three seemingly inconsequential details I'd internalized came together into a spark of an idea. It came late at night, so that spark seemed brighter at the time than it did the next day when I got down into the nitty gritty of fleshing it out, working out the kinks, and going so far as to see if it is even plausible enough to shoe horn in some fashion. Investigating its plausibility sidetracked me more than the other two things, so details are few and far between for this idea, but you don't start sprucing up your house when you aren't sure if the foundation will hold, so here it is:


The man in question finds his way into the sex offender registry, classified as a level 2 offender (the identity of level 1 offenders aren't available to the general public and level 3 offenders are the highest on the scale).

Soon thereafter, he gets caught up in another brand of legally questionable, though this time his role is more that of the victim than of the assailant, for it is his testimony that is essential to the successful prosecution of a criminal case. At this point, the Witness Protection Program comes into play, as their involvement is deemed necessary, given the situation. While local law enforcement in the man's new community is not left in the dark when it comes to the man's past offense(s), his name is no longer made public via the sex offender registry for fear of it breaking his cover. His new name is not far separated from his previous name, and so publicizing it via the registry would likely tip the people that are after him.

After the trial has come and gone, and the man has become more or less assimilated into the city to which he was relocated, the man becomes a repeat offender, capitalizing on his newfound anonymity. While the local law enforcement is notified of his location, we're talking about your small town that could fall off the face of the planet without anyone noticing or caring much at all, and the local law enforcement is not prepared to handle a man blooming into a sexual predator before its eyes. Contact with the government is now only required once per year, so with these paper policemen the only thing standing in his way, the man terrorizes the small town, not all too indiscriminately either when it comes to his choice of victims. While deaths wouldn't amount to much a blip on the radar, if you will, these despicable, deviant acts catch like a newspaper in an inferno and spread.


So, now I ask: would the Witness Protection Program even consider taking a level 2 sex offender under its wing, would it drop that sex offender from the registry to protect him/her, and would even a small town be vulnerable enough to this sex offender slowly turned sexual predator during the process of assimilating into it for him/her to wreak such havoc?

05-15-2009, 01:55 AM
Are you talking Federal? Go here for information on the Witness Security Program. It's not witness protection, it's witness security:


They do obviously take criminals in the program, but if they commit crimes while in the program they go to jail. USMS says that less than 17% of their witnesses re-offend.

05-15-2009, 02:07 AM
If you're talking about the Witness Security Program administered by the US Marshals Service, sex offenders are required to register at the same level under their new names.

Also, the program participants' new last names are not close to their old names, generally.

Now, a WitSec (Witness Security) participant could drop out of the program and take his new identity documents with him, relocate to a new town, and simply fail to register as a sex offender. Of course, since he's no longer a WitSec protectee at this point, and since he's violated both state and federal law by not registering himself, there's no reason not to lock him up once he's found. And if he's still using the WitSec identity, he won't be all that hard to locate.

Travis J. Smith
05-15-2009, 03:46 AM
When it comes to the comment about names, I was going based off of this:

"However, according to the book WITSEC: Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program (http://shopping.howstuffworks.com/xFS?FD=0&KW=WITSEC), co-written by the program's creator, Gerald Shur, witnesses are advised to keep their current initials or same first name. Name changes are done by the court system just like any name change, but the records are sealed."

That is from the comprehensive article the How Stuff Works website did on the Witness Security Program. And I thought that if the people after that person were wily enough, and had enough illegal and/or legal connections to work through, they could find a way to follow the paper trail from one state's registry to another using the name as a red flag to lead them to him/her. A bit of a stretch, but at that point in my explanation I was just expanding upon it and dressing it up a little and understood the unlikelihood of that. It was impromptu thinking typed out without much consideration.

Seeing as the more complicated (and convoluted, I must say; I imagined it was that way, but wanted to confirm that) way of handling this is out of the question, I will go with what you mentioned, smcc, except minus the Witness Security Program. This crazy, implausible idea resulted from a true news story about a man going that route, actually. I went crazy and tried to spice it up, I guess. Guy moved from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania, never notified the officials nor registered in Pennsylvania, and then sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl in an abandoned house.

Thanks for your help in debunking my idea of mythic, convoluted proportions.