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More sex offenders
getting free Viagra

At least 137 registered sex offenders, including convicted rapists and child molesters, got free Viagra and other impotence treatments courtesy of California taxpayers in the last year.

In total, an audit by Attorney General Bill Lockyer shows, California taxpayers spent $2.6 million to provide 5,855 men with Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs during that period, including the sex offenders.

The subsidy to the sex offenders was discovered when Lockyer’s office received a list of Medi-Cal-funded Viagra recipients from the Department of Health Services and ran that list against the men who regularly register their whereabouts with local law enforcement.

Even though the sex offenders are convicted felons and receive public money, their anonymity is protected under California law, said Lockyer.

Last month, under federal pressure to crack down on the possibility that sex offenders were getting taxpayer-funded Viagra, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger directed state agencies to stop providing such ex-convicts with erectile dysfunction drugs.

State authorities across the country have been searching their databases after a New York state audit showed 198 sex offenders there received government-reimbursed Viagra between January 2000 and March 2005.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services even warned it might cut federal funding for states that don’t make serious efforts to cut convicted sex offenders off from these drugs.

A California Assembly bill is making its way through committees that would provide the state with the ability to withhold such drugs from convicted rapists and child molesters.