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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Empowering Girls: Sex Offender Next Door

P3234061.JPG

by Tracee Sioux

Hey Tracee, my neighbor said over the phone.

Hey, how's it going? I asked.

What's your address?

706 Walnut Grove.

That's what I thought. My friend just called me and said she said there is a a sex offender living at 708 Walnut Grove.

The new neighbor next door to me? Damn it, I looked it up before we bought this house.

Well, you never know who will move in.

Do you know who he is or what he did?

No, maybe he was really young. Maybe it was his girlfriend or something.

I'll look it up tonight and see who and when and I'll call you tomorrow.

According to the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Registry my new next door neighbor, with whom we share a fence, is a sex offender. His was convicted of first degree sexual assault against a 9-year-old girl. He served one year in juvenile detention.

My feelings about it would be less conflicted, except he was only 13 or 14. He's only 19 now. But the gossip on the street is that the men in his family have a history of getting arrested for domestic violence and that his step-brother "accidentally" got hung by a noose.

I can't help feeling compassion for someone making a mistake as a child and being held accountable for it for the rest of their life. Is that fair?

At the same time, I have researched the statistics and the recidivism rate - the likelihood for repeated offenses - in sex offenders is very high. It is also true that statistically, adult perpetrators start perpetrating when they are young teens.

Our options are limited.

It's really a matter of what kind of prison I want to make my own kids live in. I can't control his interaction in the neighborhood or restrict his freedom of movement. In our last neighborhood - not a good one with multiple sex offenders - the children were basically prisoners, unallowed to play in their own yards without direct supervision. It was depressing and sad - I hated it.

This is depressing and sad.

Do we have to stop letting my children play outside in their own back yard to protect them from a potential sexual deviant across the chain-link fence?

If I do nothing, and hope it was a childhood mistake, and continue to let my daughter play on the street with the other kids her age, will we look like an incompetent parents if we end up on Dr. Phil because we were wrong?

Teen Violence and Sex Offender Statistics

Sex Offender Information
Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Registry Link

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's crazy. I always thought that they couldn't legally live (or be) within so many yards or whatever of small children. I'm like you - how do you know if it was some weird one-time mistake or misunderstanding? or the beginnings of his career as a sex offender?

Does he live alone there? I wonder if it would be possible to look up the record of what happened?

Ashley

Tracee said...

No, there are zero laws limiting where sex offenders can live. There are laws limiting whether they can work as teachers or social workers with children.

He lives there with his pregnant wife. They are having a girl in June.

The public record gave me vague details - 1st degree sexual assault of a 9 year old in 2002. It gave me his birthdate and I did the math.

The rest is street gossip - only 5,000 people live here so the area teens knew all about him.

Right now I'd kind of like to kick the realtor's ass. Not only did they just put my kids in danger, but they lowered my property value.

Anonymous said...

Gosh - it's just hard to know what to do..

It just seems like maybe there's too much lumped into "sex offender" I would want to know specifically if it was 'rape' or molestation, or some sort of weird mistunderstanding..Like - was there evidence? Wow - I wouldn't know what to think or do. The term sex offender is so broad. For instance - I know a guy (stupid guy) who was on a drunk dare and streaked through a grocery store late at night. They caught him and the cops told him to thank his lucky stars there were no children present. If there had been he would have been listed as a sex offender the rest of his life..Don't get me wrong - if my kid had been there, I would have demanded punishment, but I know I wouldn't have wanted him branded as a sex offender the rest of his life.

I wonder if there's a dumbass list?

Ashley

Violet said...

It doesn't really matter where you live, one pops up. I've looked our address up in the past and there are a few in the area. Same with my mom's house, my bros house and my in-law's house. Although RIGHT next door? Ick.

At least you know to keep an eye on that situation, but it must be very difficult to know what to do beyond that. I want to say to just tell your children to avoid him and let them go on living their lives, but yeah, I don't want to be on Dr. Phil as the friend who gave you bad advice.

Trust your instincts.

Tracee said...

First Degree means it was "intentional and knowingly" a crime.

There is nothing "accidental" about a 14 year old and a 9 year old. One is in high school as a freshman. The other is in what? 3rd grade elementary school?

I think it's evidence of a sickness in society that our first impulse is to make excuses or justify the perpetrator's actions. "Maybe he didn't mean to do it or maybe there's a good reason for doing it. Maybe it was innocent and our laws are too harsh."

That's the first place I went and it's the first place you went and it's the first place the lady down the street went.

What does that say about why it keeps happening?

Anonymous said...

Sorry - I was just hoping, for you, that he might be one of those guys who does end up on the list for something much more innocent than intenional rape or molestation. (That doesn't sound good at all though.)

I was in no way trying to sympathize with, or excuse the actions of, actual rapists or child molesters.

Although I DO believe that the category of sex offender is so broad that there are men who end up on the list for things like a drunk-dare streaking. To me, this minimizes the meaning and purpose of the list..

Ashley

Tracee said...

I agree there needs to be some reform.

But, I think it's a self-perpetuating problem - we "hope" it didn't happen so strongly, cause we new someone who seemed innocent once, and then we ignore the elephant in the living room.

The result seems to be that we allow the freedoms of the sexually violent to restrict the freedom of all children, and women for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Would you consider talking to him? Letting him know you know and asking questions?

Tracee said...

I am considering talking to him.

My neighbor says she is going to talk to him - just to let him know that we know and tell him to keep his distance from the neighborhood kids - and I kind of want to be there so I can see his facial expressions and body language. I don't want to rely solely on her interpretation of what happened.

My husband feels this is a bad strategy on the grounds that it won't accomplish anything and if he is a really bad guy with a history of violence we don't want to make him furious and incite aggression - we share a fence.

I wish I had a clear feeling of which is the right/best thing to do - to talk to him or not.

Anonymous said...

If he is a bad guy who did bad things to children - I would think you're taking a lot of power and strategy away from him by letting him know you know..

If he is the victim of a misunderstanding - he'll probablly be embarrassed, but appreciate the opportunity to explain.

Good Luck.

Tracee said...

What you say does make sense. I'm one who feels getting everything on the table is most effective for prevention. My husband just doesn't see it that way.

1001 Petals said...

What a difficult situation.

My first thought was to talk to him as well, feel the situation out as it were. .. but after reading the other comments I came up with another idea!

Hopefully he has grown up and changed a lot, as we all are apt to do throughout adolescence. One way to gauge this would be to speak to his wife. . .I mean, what sort of person would marry another, AND be willing to have a child with them, if they were some sicko? If she seems very with it, sane, confident, etc. then chances are he's alright.

If she comes off as insecure and possibly abused, then you know he still is messed.

Hopefully it'll all be that obvious!

I just feel bad for their future kid. Imagine if none of the other kids want to play with him/her cause they all think (know?) their daddy's a criminal?? :( Sometimes people deserve second chances, if they screwed up badly and it really isn't a part of their character. But then again, who knows! Sometimes things aren't so obvious and it takes time to really suss out a situation.

Tracee said...

I've met her briefly. It's hard to judge by women though - some women marry serial killers and sexual predators while they're still in prison.

But, I agree it will provide more information about their current life.

One strategy I've thought of is to call the policy for every disturbance or loud party - the neighbor seemed to think this is likely in our future - disturbances and loud parties.

I realize this is gossip from a busy body though.

Anonymous said...

What would calling the police very often accomplish?

Are loud parties usually paired with sexual assault of children?

Anonymous said...

Also, I just followed your sex offender link and OH MY LORD! THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!

I've googled my area before and came up with a list that revealed only 3 in our little town of 4000. The list your link led to revealed like 25! (none next door thankfully though)

I have one (embarrassingly naive) question though. What does 'crime against nature' mean? I've googled it in my state and all I can find is an old Jim Crow law about homosexuals. I'm pretty sure being homosexual doesn't land you on the list.


Ashley (can you believe I signed my name after that question!?)

Tracee said...

Anonymous, I'm thinking out loud in real time here. I'm not sure calling the cops would accomplish anything, except make him mad and be a bad neighbor.

I was thinking about a strategy to get him to move away or put in jail for other illegal activity that might occur at loud parties. Some of these crimes might be domestic violence, contributing to minors, drugs - I steal this strategy from the FBI which when going after the Mafia - they go after side crimes like tax evasion.

The logic being - In jail equals not my neighbor and thus lowering the risk for my kids.

Violet said...

No, harassing him about loud parties is not going to help.

I think you should talk to him and his wife together if you feel comfortable enough to and say very calmly this is what I heard, this is why I am concerned etc. and ask them what they have to say about it. It never hurts to have more information about the situation.

Tell the kids not to talk to him and to come inside if they see him on your property or if he talks to them. Then make sure all the locks on your doors and windows are secure.

Violet said...

Hub thinks Jeremy should go over and threaten him with his life and then harass him mercilessly every day until he moves.

That seems so mean, but Hub says, so what? F*** him, he lost his right to have friendly neighbors when he committed the crime. I tend to be more sympathetic, but maybe that is not a good thing.

I had to stop Hub last year from distributing highly inappropriate fliers about one that lives near our house last year.

Tracee said...

There's a part of me - and some statistical evidence - that Violet's Hub's approach - extreme male social pressure as a consequence to sexual assault - is the only effective measure and we're being self-defeating by being worried about "being mean."

jen said...

Damn Tracee that's tough. I would talk to him. Assumption plays a big role in failure, hate, and lots of other bad things.

He's GOT to know you guys know.

Bummer that he is right next door.

candeelady said...

Boy I do not envy you - this is a tough situation, but your in a worry limbo spot that is not fun soooooo.... I'm one to confront people, tactfully, and get problems resolved. IMO- I suggest you call him and ask to meet with him ( you and your neighbor friend together)by saying you're aware of his record and are very concerned. His reaction will tell you a lot. If he refuses then he is not facing the past and trying to move forward with remorse and dignity. Whether it was a minor or major offense, y ou will have to watch you kids closely and tell them to steer clear of him. An unpleasant way to live by a neighbor, but a "must do". His wife may not even KNOW about it??

If he agress to meet you then you can say "we are very concerned about your police record, what's the story?"(period) See what he says to explain himself and as you said - his body language will tell you a lot. Based on his answer, let him know how you feel about the safety of your kids. Following this talk you will either have a mild concern or a major concern - and monitor your kids accordingly. But most important, if you feel he is a current risk, you will have established a position of power - that you know he has a problem and will not tolerate it in your neighborhood.

Your husbands response is standard male avoidance of facing anything involving "t-a-l-k-i-n-g" LOL

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Empowering Girls: Sex Offender Next Door

P3234061.JPG

by Tracee Sioux

Hey Tracee, my neighbor said over the phone.

Hey, how's it going? I asked.

What's your address?

706 Walnut Grove.

That's what I thought. My friend just called me and said she said there is a a sex offender living at 708 Walnut Grove.

The new neighbor next door to me? Damn it, I looked it up before we bought this house.

Well, you never know who will move in.

Do you know who he is or what he did?

No, maybe he was really young. Maybe it was his girlfriend or something.

I'll look it up tonight and see who and when and I'll call you tomorrow.

According to the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Registry my new next door neighbor, with whom we share a fence, is a sex offender. His was convicted of first degree sexual assault against a 9-year-old girl. He served one year in juvenile detention.

My feelings about it would be less conflicted, except he was only 13 or 14. He's only 19 now. But the gossip on the street is that the men in his family have a history of getting arrested for domestic violence and that his step-brother "accidentally" got hung by a noose.

I can't help feeling compassion for someone making a mistake as a child and being held accountable for it for the rest of their life. Is that fair?

At the same time, I have researched the statistics and the recidivism rate - the likelihood for repeated offenses - in sex offenders is very high. It is also true that statistically, adult perpetrators start perpetrating when they are young teens.

Our options are limited.

It's really a matter of what kind of prison I want to make my own kids live in. I can't control his interaction in the neighborhood or restrict his freedom of movement. In our last neighborhood - not a good one with multiple sex offenders - the children were basically prisoners, unallowed to play in their own yards without direct supervision. It was depressing and sad - I hated it.

This is depressing and sad.

Do we have to stop letting my children play outside in their own back yard to protect them from a potential sexual deviant across the chain-link fence?

If I do nothing, and hope it was a childhood mistake, and continue to let my daughter play on the street with the other kids her age, will we look like an incompetent parents if we end up on Dr. Phil because we were wrong?

Teen Violence and Sex Offender Statistics

Sex Offender Information
Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Registry Link

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's crazy. I always thought that they couldn't legally live (or be) within so many yards or whatever of small children. I'm like you - how do you know if it was some weird one-time mistake or misunderstanding? or the beginnings of his career as a sex offender?

Does he live alone there? I wonder if it would be possible to look up the record of what happened?

Ashley

Tracee said...

No, there are zero laws limiting where sex offenders can live. There are laws limiting whether they can work as teachers or social workers with children.

He lives there with his pregnant wife. They are having a girl in June.

The public record gave me vague details - 1st degree sexual assault of a 9 year old in 2002. It gave me his birthdate and I did the math.

The rest is street gossip - only 5,000 people live here so the area teens knew all about him.

Right now I'd kind of like to kick the realtor's ass. Not only did they just put my kids in danger, but they lowered my property value.

Anonymous said...

Gosh - it's just hard to know what to do..

It just seems like maybe there's too much lumped into "sex offender" I would want to know specifically if it was 'rape' or molestation, or some sort of weird mistunderstanding..Like - was there evidence? Wow - I wouldn't know what to think or do. The term sex offender is so broad. For instance - I know a guy (stupid guy) who was on a drunk dare and streaked through a grocery store late at night. They caught him and the cops told him to thank his lucky stars there were no children present. If there had been he would have been listed as a sex offender the rest of his life..Don't get me wrong - if my kid had been there, I would have demanded punishment, but I know I wouldn't have wanted him branded as a sex offender the rest of his life.

I wonder if there's a dumbass list?

Ashley

Violet said...

It doesn't really matter where you live, one pops up. I've looked our address up in the past and there are a few in the area. Same with my mom's house, my bros house and my in-law's house. Although RIGHT next door? Ick.

At least you know to keep an eye on that situation, but it must be very difficult to know what to do beyond that. I want to say to just tell your children to avoid him and let them go on living their lives, but yeah, I don't want to be on Dr. Phil as the friend who gave you bad advice.

Trust your instincts.

Tracee said...

First Degree means it was "intentional and knowingly" a crime.

There is nothing "accidental" about a 14 year old and a 9 year old. One is in high school as a freshman. The other is in what? 3rd grade elementary school?

I think it's evidence of a sickness in society that our first impulse is to make excuses or justify the perpetrator's actions. "Maybe he didn't mean to do it or maybe there's a good reason for doing it. Maybe it was innocent and our laws are too harsh."

That's the first place I went and it's the first place you went and it's the first place the lady down the street went.

What does that say about why it keeps happening?

Anonymous said...

Sorry - I was just hoping, for you, that he might be one of those guys who does end up on the list for something much more innocent than intenional rape or molestation. (That doesn't sound good at all though.)

I was in no way trying to sympathize with, or excuse the actions of, actual rapists or child molesters.

Although I DO believe that the category of sex offender is so broad that there are men who end up on the list for things like a drunk-dare streaking. To me, this minimizes the meaning and purpose of the list..

Ashley

Tracee said...

I agree there needs to be some reform.

But, I think it's a self-perpetuating problem - we "hope" it didn't happen so strongly, cause we new someone who seemed innocent once, and then we ignore the elephant in the living room.

The result seems to be that we allow the freedoms of the sexually violent to restrict the freedom of all children, and women for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Would you consider talking to him? Letting him know you know and asking questions?

Tracee said...

I am considering talking to him.

My neighbor says she is going to talk to him - just to let him know that we know and tell him to keep his distance from the neighborhood kids - and I kind of want to be there so I can see his facial expressions and body language. I don't want to rely solely on her interpretation of what happened.

My husband feels this is a bad strategy on the grounds that it won't accomplish anything and if he is a really bad guy with a history of violence we don't want to make him furious and incite aggression - we share a fence.

I wish I had a clear feeling of which is the right/best thing to do - to talk to him or not.

Anonymous said...

If he is a bad guy who did bad things to children - I would think you're taking a lot of power and strategy away from him by letting him know you know..

If he is the victim of a misunderstanding - he'll probablly be embarrassed, but appreciate the opportunity to explain.

Good Luck.

Tracee said...

What you say does make sense. I'm one who feels getting everything on the table is most effective for prevention. My husband just doesn't see it that way.

1001 Petals said...

What a difficult situation.

My first thought was to talk to him as well, feel the situation out as it were. .. but after reading the other comments I came up with another idea!

Hopefully he has grown up and changed a lot, as we all are apt to do throughout adolescence. One way to gauge this would be to speak to his wife. . .I mean, what sort of person would marry another, AND be willing to have a child with them, if they were some sicko? If she seems very with it, sane, confident, etc. then chances are he's alright.

If she comes off as insecure and possibly abused, then you know he still is messed.

Hopefully it'll all be that obvious!

I just feel bad for their future kid. Imagine if none of the other kids want to play with him/her cause they all think (know?) their daddy's a criminal?? :( Sometimes people deserve second chances, if they screwed up badly and it really isn't a part of their character. But then again, who knows! Sometimes things aren't so obvious and it takes time to really suss out a situation.

Tracee said...

I've met her briefly. It's hard to judge by women though - some women marry serial killers and sexual predators while they're still in prison.

But, I agree it will provide more information about their current life.

One strategy I've thought of is to call the policy for every disturbance or loud party - the neighbor seemed to think this is likely in our future - disturbances and loud parties.

I realize this is gossip from a busy body though.

Anonymous said...

What would calling the police very often accomplish?

Are loud parties usually paired with sexual assault of children?

Anonymous said...

Also, I just followed your sex offender link and OH MY LORD! THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!

I've googled my area before and came up with a list that revealed only 3 in our little town of 4000. The list your link led to revealed like 25! (none next door thankfully though)

I have one (embarrassingly naive) question though. What does 'crime against nature' mean? I've googled it in my state and all I can find is an old Jim Crow law about homosexuals. I'm pretty sure being homosexual doesn't land you on the list.


Ashley (can you believe I signed my name after that question!?)

Tracee said...

Anonymous, I'm thinking out loud in real time here. I'm not sure calling the cops would accomplish anything, except make him mad and be a bad neighbor.

I was thinking about a strategy to get him to move away or put in jail for other illegal activity that might occur at loud parties. Some of these crimes might be domestic violence, contributing to minors, drugs - I steal this strategy from the FBI which when going after the Mafia - they go after side crimes like tax evasion.

The logic being - In jail equals not my neighbor and thus lowering the risk for my kids.

Violet said...

No, harassing him about loud parties is not going to help.

I think you should talk to him and his wife together if you feel comfortable enough to and say very calmly this is what I heard, this is why I am concerned etc. and ask them what they have to say about it. It never hurts to have more information about the situation.

Tell the kids not to talk to him and to come inside if they see him on your property or if he talks to them. Then make sure all the locks on your doors and windows are secure.

Violet said...

Hub thinks Jeremy should go over and threaten him with his life and then harass him mercilessly every day until he moves.

That seems so mean, but Hub says, so what? F*** him, he lost his right to have friendly neighbors when he committed the crime. I tend to be more sympathetic, but maybe that is not a good thing.

I had to stop Hub last year from distributing highly inappropriate fliers about one that lives near our house last year.

Tracee said...

There's a part of me - and some statistical evidence - that Violet's Hub's approach - extreme male social pressure as a consequence to sexual assault - is the only effective measure and we're being self-defeating by being worried about "being mean."

jen said...

Damn Tracee that's tough. I would talk to him. Assumption plays a big role in failure, hate, and lots of other bad things.

He's GOT to know you guys know.

Bummer that he is right next door.

candeelady said...

Boy I do not envy you - this is a tough situation, but your in a worry limbo spot that is not fun soooooo.... I'm one to confront people, tactfully, and get problems resolved. IMO- I suggest you call him and ask to meet with him ( you and your neighbor friend together)by saying you're aware of his record and are very concerned. His reaction will tell you a lot. If he refuses then he is not facing the past and trying to move forward with remorse and dignity. Whether it was a minor or major offense, y ou will have to watch you kids closely and tell them to steer clear of him. An unpleasant way to live by a neighbor, but a "must do". His wife may not even KNOW about it??

If he agress to meet you then you can say "we are very concerned about your police record, what's the story?"(period) See what he says to explain himself and as you said - his body language will tell you a lot. Based on his answer, let him know how you feel about the safety of your kids. Following this talk you will either have a mild concern or a major concern - and monitor your kids accordingly. But most important, if you feel he is a current risk, you will have established a position of power - that you know he has a problem and will not tolerate it in your neighborhood.

Your husbands response is standard male avoidance of facing anything involving "t-a-l-k-i-n-g" LOL