New details in the high-profile case of two accused serial killers have revived concerns that federal supervision of California sex offenders is deeply flawed, reports the Orange County Register. Anaheim police acknowledge that Steven Gordon routinely violated terms of his federal probation by spending time with friend Franc Cano. Despite ample evidence of these encounters, Gordon never faced serious consequences. His supervisors missed or ignored the behavior. Gordon and Cano were charged last month with raping and murdering four women, all of them sex workers. Both men were wearing GPS tracking devices; Gordon was tracked by federal probation officers, Cano by state parole officers.
Gordon was swept into the federal probation system last year because he failed to register as a sex offender after crossing state lines. He became part of a growing population of sex offenders under federal supervision. Federal probation officers in California now supervise more than twice the number of sex offenders than they did six years ago. The fact that Gordon and Cano were being tracked by different agencies could partially explain how Gordon was able to flaunt the terms of his probation without scrutiny. Experts say law enforcement agencies have a poor track record of sharing GPS data for proactive purposes. They work well together when it comes to investigating crimes – combining data to exonerate or indict a suspect – but not when it comes to detecting them. “That was exactly the problem,” said Susan Turner, a UC Irvine professor who reviewed GPS monitoring by state parole authorities in 2010. “They had talked about data sharing but they couldn't do it.”