Army rapist registers as sex offender following Scripps reports

Released from Leavenworth in 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A three-state hunt for convicted Army rapist Basil Kingsberry has ended with the 43-year-old voluntarily registering as a sex offender in Georgia.

The former Army specialist was prominently featured in a Scripps News investigative report last November that examined more than 1,300 military sex offense convictions, and discovered one in five offenders were not publicly registered.

The Army convicted Kingsberry of rape and forcible sodomy at a court martial and discharged him from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth in 2005. The military relies on sex offenders to register themselves after release. Kingsberry told the Army he would register in Mississippi, but his name never made it onto a sex offender list.

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Following the Scripps report, which identified Kingsberry’s ties in Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina, authorities in those states confirmed they were looking for him but had been unable to find him.

Kingsberry registered last week at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation after a reporter for WXIA-TV in Atlanta, following up on the Scripps report, visited the nearby home of Kingsberry’s sister in an attempt to locate him. Reporter Rebecca Lindstrom didn’t find him, but said Kingsberry phoned her Wednesday shortly after that visit to say he was planning to register.  The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed that Kingsberry registered there later that day, listing an address in Decatur, in suburban Atlanta.

Scripps originally picked up Kingsberry’s trail in York County, South Carolina, where he made a court appearance last October following an arrest in a domestic violence incident.  He told the courts he was living in a nearby apartment.  His failure to register also escaped the Fulton County police in Atlanta after they arrested him in July 2009 in connection with solicitation of an undercover police officer for sex.

Unlike the detailed listings of civilian sex offenders in many states, military offender registrations are often vague on specifics. Kingsberry’s registration, for example, does not state he was convicted of rape or forcible sodomy. Instead, it states he has a “federal sex crime conviction” and lists the conviction state as being “Out of Country.”

A Department of Defense spokesman declined to comment on Kingsberry’s registration, referring questions to the U.S. Marshals Service. Marshals Services spokesman Dave Oney called the registration “good news.”

The Marshals last month said they were investigating “some" of the cases Scripps published recently, but would not confirm if they had begun to look for Kingsberry after last November’s reports.

In a recent revision of quarterly statistics on the subject, the DOD inspector general -- which has been critical of registration loopholes for military sex offenders -- found 13 percent of offenders were non-compliant during the first quarter of 2013 even after the military properly notified civilian authorities of a release of a sex offender.  Lt. Commander Nate Christensen, a DOD spokesman, noted this was a "positive" revision since an initial report for the same quarter reported 20 percent of military offenders were non-compliant.  

"The revision is minor and does not affect the overall findings, conclusions, and recommendations presented in the original report, " said Randolph R. Stone, Deputy Inspector General for the DOD.

The Pentagon has said it plans to announce details in early spring of a new policy on military sex offender registration, which would include a partnership with the U.S. Marshals Service.           

Several members of Congress have confirmed to Scripps they intend to push to officially close the loopholes that allowed Kingsberry and hundreds of others to stay off public sex offender registries.  

If you have a tip or an update about a military sex offender, email mark.greenblatt@scripps.com. You can also  follow updates to this story on Twitter @greenblattmark

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