Authorities: Convicted child molester slipped through the cracks

By Al Pefley email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - When we knocked nobody came to the door at the house on Citation Drive where Marcus Blanchard lived with his girlfriend in suburban West Palm Beach. Toys and bikes are scattered around the front yard. Detectives say he molested at least six little girls his girlfriend was babysitting. He's now behind bars following his arrest last week.

"He slipped through the cracks because he wasn't required to register as a sex offender," said Sgt. Mark Jolly with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

He slipped through the cracks because of a fluke in the law. Blanchard was arrested in 1980 for child molesting, and, according to the state Department of Corrections, he did three years probation. He also spent about ten years behind bars for second degree murder.

But Blanchard,  a convicted child molester, is not listed in the state's on-line registry of sexual offenders and sexual predators. And you won't find Blanchard's photo on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website. Why? Authorities say it's because he was arrested almost 30 years ago, long before the register was created in 1997.

"There's not a law in place to catch that particular offender because of the time the crime was committed," Sgt. Jolly said.

Blanchard's case highlights a potential problem. Convicted child molesters like him are out there, living in our midst, but they are not required to register their address with the county because they were arrested so long ago.

As a result, the sheriff's office is not checking on them, not making yearly surprise visits to their home as they would for sex offenders convicted since 1997.

"There's probably a lot of guys out there that we don't know about," Sgt. Jolly said.

Convicted sex offenders and predators are now required to register in person with the sheriff's office. Four times a year for predators, twice a year for sex offenders. That was not the case in 1980, and so Blanchard is not required to do that.