CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has learned how the system to protect you broke down as a sex offender under house arrest ended up getting busted again.
We investigated and found how easy it can be to walk away from house arrest.
This week, Cleveland Police arrested Rickquan Bennett, who is charged with attacking a woman in a parking lot outside Hopkins Airport. It happened even as Bennett wore an ankle bracelet so the court could keep track of him.
Records show Bennett was under house arrest while facing another sex charge out of Lorain County.
So, how did the system to protect the public fail?
“Somebody failed their part. Who didn’t do their job and notify whoever needed to be notified that he was out and about?” the victim said.
We went to the Lorain County Court complex looking for someone to explain. Did any alarm go off when the suspect left home? Did anyone get a phone call to go look for him? And, if not, why not?
The Lorain County Probation Department had been overseeing the house arrest for Bennett, although he was out of jail on bond waiting for trial.
A manager said he needed permission from a judge to talk about the specific terms of Bennett’s house arrest. That is, where he could go and when.
John Machovina also admitted that no one in the court system would get any immediate notification if Bennett went where he shouldn’t go.
“I think what you’re asking, ‘Does an alarm go off immediately?’ ‘Is somebody notified immediately?’ and that is not the case,” Machovina said.
So, we asked how confident the public should be that the system is protecting them when somebody’s on house arrest.
“You know, I still think they’re being protected,” Machovina added.
He pointed out there may not be an immediate response, but there will be one.
The response this time was that Cleveland Police arrested Bennett, who is accused of grabbing and choking a woman at the airport. Police charged him with kidnapping. Cuyahoga County prosecutors could go to a grand jury for more charges.
Meanwhile, we went to the office of Lorain County Judge John Miraldi. He put Bennett on house arrest with a GPS monitor, but his office referred us to a private company monitoring the ankle bracelets. We called twice, but we got no call back.
The victim in the airport believes the system needs to be fixed.
“Something needs to be done. Something needs to be done,” she said.
For now, Bennett sits locked up in jail fighting the charges for the attack.
Lorain County prosecutors are taking steps to keep him locked up as all this gets sorted out. The pending case in Lorain County involves a charge for sexual conduct with a minor.