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FCC Revokes Ham License for Convicted Sex Offender

Reverses earlier decision

The FCC reversed itself and revoked the license of amateur radio operator David Titus.

In 2007, the Enforcement Bureau received information that Titus had been convicted of at least one felony sex offense involving a minor; Titus was convicted of a Class 3 felony and served 25 months in prison, according to the FCC.

The bureau issued an Order to Show Cause why his license should not be revoked when the agency learned Titus may have been convicted of other felonies for sex crimes.

In his initial decision from 2010, Administrative Law Judge Richard Sippel concluded the bureau hadn’t met the burden of proof to determine that Titus lacked the qualifications to be a commission licensee. Though he found Titus had committed at least four sexual offenses against children, only the adult conviction should be considered because the other offenses occurred when Titus was a minor and more than a decade before the FCC proceeding, according to the latest decision.

The adult offense occurred when Titus was 18 and Sippel found credible evidence Titus had been rehabilitated between then and 2007. That was backed up by testimony from a psychologist and character witnesses. Titus also expressed remorse, according to the judge’s decision.

At the time, the judge didn’t allow the bureau to rebut that testimony and indicate Titus was lying.

Now, the full commission has considered the Enforcement Bureau’s arguments. The bureau argued the judge failed to take into account the number and the egregious nature of the licensee’s offenses; the bureau also believes the passage of time shouldn’t have mattered.

The bureau maintains the judge ignored the danger to children when a sex offender has access to amateur radio.

In its latest decision, the commission agrees with the bureau and finds the judge should have considered Titus’ juvenile convictions and given more weight to the Washington State Police decision that Titus remains a high-risk sex offender. The agency noted at the time the judge characterized Titus’ behavior as “shockingly evil,” and believes the adult conviction alone is enough to warrant license revocation.

“We would be remiss in our responsibilities as a licensing authority if we continue to authorize Titus to hold an amateur radio license that could be used to put him in contact with children,” notes the agency, which found Titus unqualified to hold a ham license and revoked it.