Father sets up Facebook page listing sex offenders
A concerned father has set up a Facebook page with the names and pictures of convicted sexual offenders.
The dad decided to take matters into his own hands because Bermuda does not have a publicly available Sex Offender Register.
He started the page, called Bermuda Pedos (sic) in February and has been updating it with pictures and reports about sex crimes that have hit the headlines.
Contacted by The Royal Gazette, he explained that he has several children including two young girls, and gets concerned every time he hears about a sexual assault case.
I feel that we, the public, should know about these things. I decided that rather than do anything illegal, I would post whatever had already been made public on the Facebook page so those who want to know have a quick reference point, he explained.
The majority of Bermuda uses Facebook right now. The page shows the offenders face, what they have been convicted and whether they are out of jail. I just felt it was so necessary. People have sent e-mails to the page. One lady said the first picture she saw on there was her old neighbour and she didn't realise he had been convicted of a sexual crime.
The father who is aged in his 30s is not identified by name on his site. He asked not to be named in this story either, as he does not want his children to be in the public spotlight.
He stressed that he has not posted any information that has not come from media reports on court proceedings.
It's all public information. There are a few stories on there where, for legal reasons, their face and name were not published. A few people have said they know who it is and they have a picture but I have not posted those, he said.
The page contains information about 11 convicted criminals including Dennis Eldridge, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to sexually abusing a young boy and hoarding almost 3,500 child pornography images. Eldridge, who worked in the IT industry, used to give guitar lessons to children. He was jailed for ten years.
Another profiled is Glenn Brangman, a former Bermuda Regiment Major and Bermuda Housing Corporation manager convicted earlier this year of a series of sex attacks on a male teenager.
Also pictured on the site is Joshua Crockwell, a firefighter jailed for 15 months earlier this year for sexually molesting a 12-year-old girl.
Crockwell and Brangman have appeals against their convictions pending.
The Facebook page has proved popular, with 46 fans who have clicked to say they like it. Some have complained that they have been blocked from accessing information about convicted sex offenders by the authorities.
Various parents of young sexual assault victims have, in the past, made public calls for a US-style sex offenders register which is open for all to see. Those calls have been backed by Opposition politician Louise Jackson who has said it is ridiculous to keep the list secret.
The Royal Gazette reported earlier this month that welfare campaigners have been working with Attorney General Kim Wilson to establish a protocol for certain individuals to access Bermudas Sex Offender Register, which was established in October 2001.
At present, convicted sex offenders who have been jailed are obliged to inform police of their name and address for ten years after their release. The punishment for failing to do so is a maximum $3,000 fine and/or a six-month prison sentence.
The law also allows the Attorney General to order the disclosure of details of offenders, including photographs, to individuals or groups if the person is thought to pose a significant threat. However, Sen Wilson stated in September 2009 that no such order had been made since the law was passed.
In the US, under Megans Law, law enforcement agencies can publish the names and pictures of convicted sex offenders on websites. However, Sen Wilson said there were human rights concerns about implementing such a measure in Bermuda.
The father said of the current lack of information: "I'm disappointed, frustrated, angry and sad all at the same time. In this day and age it's a simple little thing, a sexual offenders list. We don't have it and here we are professing to be such a great country on top of our game, one of the wealthiest in the world, and we don't have this."
He said he respects Sen Wilson and would like to see her address the issue.
I would really like her to push as hard as she can within legal aspects to get this out there because as a parent we really would like to know, and we feel we have a right to know to protect our children, he said.
Sen Wilson has failed to respond to multiple requests from this newspaper for comments on the topic.