10 Bodies in Sex Offender's Home: Is System Broken

As the count of bodies found at the Cleveland, Ohio, home of a registered sex offender, more and more people are wondering how they could have gotten there without anyone knowing?

Now that Anthony Sowell has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder, the question is, why weren't the police and parole officers who were keeping tabs on him aware of what was going on?

Sowell, 50, today was ordered held without bail on five counts of aggravated murder, while police investigators confirmed they had found 10 bodies in and around his home, and a skull in his basement.

"In 28 years of being on this bench, this is without question the most serious set of allegations that I have ever faced," Judge Ronald B. Adrine said during Sowell's court appearance today.

"People are mad and they are mad about his. I don't blame them and I am mad, too," said neighbor Raymond Cash Jr.

If it turns out that Sowell is responsible for the deaths of the people whose bodies have been found at his home, it could because he was able to exploit a broken parole and sex offender registry system.

Sowell was a registered sex offender, but authorities failed to enlist the community's help to be on the lookout for signs of trouble.

The law did not require authorities to knock on doors and notify his neighbors that he was a registered sex offender.

"Nobody knew this guy was a predator -- the system dropped the ball," said Cash.

The county where Sowell lived is home to 3,400 other sex offenders, all of whom are supposed to be tracked by authorities.

Experts say sex offender lists are not only long, but fail to distinguish between minor offenders and the most dangerous predators.

"The system that we have to do monitoring and supervision follow-up once they return to the community is just overwhelmed," said Ernie Allen of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Last September deputies from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department came to Sowell's house for an unannounced visit to make sure he lived there, but they could not enter the house.

"We are not obligated or actually allowed under law to enter the offender's residence," Det. Kati Orlando said.

The fact is that sex offenders have constitutional protections just like everyone else.

"The same rights you or I have, rights to privacy, rights that we would not enter their property unless we have cause," Orlando said.

Sowell Accused of Attempted Rape Last December

Last December, Sowell was accused of trying to rape a woman at the same house where the bodies have been found.

He was arrested, but the victim later dropped the charges.

The sheriff's sex offender unit said they were never informed of the arrest, and Sowell was left on the street.

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