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Schumer calling for more frequent photos of serious sex offenders
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - U.S. Senator Charles Schumer traveled to Utica on Wednesday to share with local law enforcement what he's doing to give them more tools to track sex offenders.
"So why are we here today? To at least try to light a little candle amidst the darkness," says Schumer.
The darkness the senator refers to is the brutal rape and murder earlier this month of north Utica motel owner Linda Turner, allegedly at the hand of serial rapist Robert Blainey, who had stopped reporting to his parole officer.
When Pennsylvania State Police caught up with Blainey in early November, he looked nothing like the widely-circulated photo of him.
Schumer wants the Department of Justice to require the most serious sex offenders' photos to be taken quarterly, at their check-ins with parole officers every three months. Currently, local police in the communities where the offenders reside are only required to take the photos once a year.
Schumer acknowledges that it's not a guaranteed fix, but says it's important to give law enforcement as many tools as possible.
"Having a three-month old photo of somebody would be a wonderful tool in the tool box and I'd be all for it," says U.S. Marshal Jamie Farrington.
Few spent more time than Farrington tracking Blainey. He says while it'd be a welcomed change, there's no guarantee it would have helped police catch up with Robert Blainey any sooner.
"There were tips that we followed up on and the people that we located looked like the bald photo of Mr. Blainey but there were also people who were called in that had beards, had full heads of hair," says Farrington.
Schumer is also pushing for a federal law that would give U.S. Marshals more authority to subpoena documents and family members that could help lead authorities to missing criminals.
There is bi-partisan support in the U.S. Senate for that bill.