Phantom sex offender board chairman speaks out
The man who was to serve as chairman of the Maryland Sexual Offender Advisory Board says his inquiries about board meetings fell on deaf ears -- for years.
His response came after a Sunday Baltimore Sun story about why several get-tough provisions of the state's sex offender laws have barely been used. The board, created during the special legislative session of 2006, was to have spent the past three years studying every aspect of how Maryland handles sex offenders and make reform recommendations to lawmakers in a Dec. 31, 2009, report.
But the board never met.
Former Prince George's County Sheriff James Aluisi said he was honored to have been appointed to the board in late 2006 by then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, defeated the Republican governor that fall and took office at the start of the next year.
Aluisi said he quickly contacted O'Malley's new public safety secretary (Gary Maynard, appointed March 20007) to arrange board meetings. The state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services was to oversee and provide support staff for the 13-member board. Board members are primarily cabinet members and appointees of the governor. By law, the chairman was required to call at least two meetings per year.
Those phone calls, Aluisi said, were not returned. Public Safety officials dispute that Aluisi ever tried to contact them.
Next, Aluisi said, he attended the Maryland Association of Counties summer conferences in 2007 and 2008 to leave messages about the inactive board with various administration members. (Aluisi correctly notes that MACO's summer conferences in Ocean City are "the best place to get in touch with anyone in state government.")
Still nothing, he said.
"I had no support staff and no place to hold a meeting," he said. "I had no information whatsoever."
It's worth noting that there is a staff member listed in the Maryland Manual's section about the advisory board.
Aluisi also said he has spoken over the years with numerous lawmakers -- he specifically remembered Del. Barbara A. Frush, a Democrat representing Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties -- to tell them the board was not meeting and could they please talk to O'Malley about that. Aluisi said he doesn't know the governor personally.
"I pushed them," Aluisi said. "On a matter of such importance, I don't know why no one ever contacted me."
I have a call in with Frush's office and will report back when I talk to her.
For more about sex offender laws that aren't being carried out, please see this blog post. The Maryland court system hasn't yet said why judges don't seem to be ordering mental health evaluations on child sex offenders, as required by law.