FOX8 investigation leads to legislation cracking down on sex offenders

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Legislation inspired by a FOX8 WGHP investigation has closed a loophole that allowed sex offenders that were members of the military to evade the National Sex Offender Registry.

"I've introduced this legislation in the hopes to quickly close the loophole WGHP has discovered in its reporting," Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) said back in February. "This is a simple but vital fix to ensure that predators cannot evade the system we have in place."

On Friday, President Barack Obama signed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. Included in the bill was a "Burr amendment" to close the legal loophole.

"I am proud that this incredibly important piece of legislation has now been signed into law,” Sen. Burr said.

In August of 2014 the Department of Defense Inspector General identified the loophole and provided a list of possible solutions for improving tracking.

Under the current system, sex offenders in the military must self-register after being released, whereas civilian sex offenders are registered prior to release.

The military notifies authorities in the jurisdiction where that person lives.

When that person moves, however, the military doesn't have the authority to follow up. The sex offender is required by law to self-register his or her new address, but FOX8' s Melissa Painter found there's no one checking up on them.

In fact, 20 percent of the 197 military sex offenders did not self-report their location.