Megan Needs an Editor


Convicted rapist Michael Dodele was freed Oct. 16 after serving two decades in jail. By law ("Megan's Law," to be specific), his name was put on a public database of convicted sex offenders. Thirty-five days later, Dodele was stabbed to death in his mobile home.

Police arrested his next-door neighbor, 29-year-old Ivan Garcia Oliver, who gave the L.A. Times a jailhouse interview:

Oliver said he has a son who was molested in the past, and he took action to protect the child.

"Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of 'normal' people," Oliver said. "I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It's no different."

Although Oliver did not say he killed Dodele, he said that "any father in my position, with moral, home, family values, wouldn't have done any different. At the end of the day, what are we as parents? Protectors, caregivers, nurturers."

There was a crucial flaw in Oliver's logic.

In fact, Dodele was not a child molester. But a listing on the Megan's Law website could have left Oliver with the impression that he had abused children because of the way it was written.

Although Dodele's listing has been taken down since his death, a spokesman for the state attorney general said the site described the man's offenses as "rape by force" and "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force."

"He was convicted of other bad things, but nothing involving a minor," said Richard F. Hinchcliff, chief deputy district attorney for Lake County. But "it would be easy to understand why someone might think so looking at the website."

Dodele's crimes involved sexual assaults on adult women, records show.

Story here. Brian Doherty warned us about "Megan's Flaws" a decade ago.