In Woburn, Ma., where Michael Bizanowicz played kickball and dodgeball with neighborhood children while visiting his girlfriend, residents never knew that one of the state’s most dangerous sexual predators was in their midst, the Boston Globe reports.
Bizanowicz was charged Friday with the murders of a Woburn woman and her daughter, 12. Some residents said his capture illustrated a failing of the state Sex Offender Registry: the lack of a public database that would allow anyone in the state to look up an offender’s photo on the Internet. Governor Mitt Romney and other officials have proposed posting all convicted felons’ photographs on a state Web site. A judge blocked the effort, saying the 1999 law that established the sex offender registry did not call for such a database. In November, Romney signed legislation that calls for biographies and photographs of every Level 3 offender — those deemed highly likely to offend again — to be posted on the Web.
Under that system, Woburn residents would have been able to find out Bizanowicz’s background instantly. Other states, including Florida, post all sex offenders on the Internet. “People will remember someone from a photo. So having that information on the Internet is extremely effective, and it’s accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Charles McDonald, spokesman for the state Sex Offender Registry Board.