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Jul-18-2006 20:40TweetFollow @OregonNews
Sex Offender Website Reveals Dangers Lurking Near Salem Schools and ParksKevin Hays Salem-News.com
"This is why it is imperative for parents to be ever vigilant for our children and with whom they associate" Governor Kulongoski said.
(SALEM) - The Oregon State Police website that lists the names and addresses of predatory sex offenders shows that many in the Salem-Keizer area are living within a one mile radius or closer to schools and neighborhood parks. For example, a search of North Salem High School and Parrish Middle School addresses found that 25 predatory sex offenders live within a one-mile radius of the schools. Of course there are a lot of schools in Salem and that is only fair to consider. But it doesn’t mean people want their kids walking by the homes of predatory sex offenders. Other locations in those areas include Barrick Field, Royal Park and Olinger Pool, all popular destinations for kids during the summer. Bush Elementary School, located at 410 14th Street, has 26 predatory sex offenders living nearby. South Salem High School has 5, and the school is located near Bush’s Pasture Park, another popular place for kids in the summer. In West Salem, Walker Middle School in Keizer has five offenders considered “predatory” while Cummings Elementary School has four. Highland Elementary located at 530 Highland Ave NE has thirteen. The Oregon School for the Deaf, and Liberty Elementary School have one offender living within three blocks. Marion County Commissioner Patti Milne doesn’t like it, “I’m shocked, alarmed, and deeply concerned by this.” The commissioner describes the current situation the result of bad planning. Milne says that while the offenders have the right to have a roof over their head, locating themselves near schools and parks is bad planning not only on their part, the problem also rests with those charged with watching over them, such as parole and probation authorities, who try and help them find housing away from where children congregate. However, authorities say that once the offender does his time, they don’t have any say on where they live or work. Salem-News.com interviewed one of the offenders who wished to remain anonymous. He says part of the problem with sex offenders and the way society looks at them, is the lack of media publicity on the ones who turn their lives around. “Some get married, some go to college, and some just work and try to lead a normal life,” he said. “Anyone; a state prison official, a D-A, a community service officer from parole or probation, who tells you that sex offenders get quality or substantial sex offender treatment while in prison, are lying.” “There is very little treatment in prison, it’s only when your released, either because you served your time, or you get paroled, that the offender can get adequate, high quality sex offender treatment that can help them with their sexual deviancies.” “Some of the guys I spent time with were released, and didn’t seek any treatment, what happened, some re-offended, and what could, or may have prevented that, a prison treatment program. You think the state would be more interested in help offenders from re-offending while their serving Measure 11 sentences rather than spending the money on a website. If I’m Joe public reading this, I would demand from state and local leaders why there isn’t better treatment available to offenders in Oregon prisons.” Don’t let them sugar coat it either, there IS NOT quality treatment for sex offenders in prison, ask any offender, they will tell you. Remember politicians lie for your vote.” “Why isn’t there a public outcry for a website that lists men and women who sell drugs to kids”? Seems to me that there is more to a child safety than just sex offenders. Drugs, especially meth, and alcohol, are destroying kids and neighborhoods throughout Salem, yet where are parents calling for a website or registration list for people who sell drugs to their kids? “And where is the website for people who have been convicted murdering, or attempting to murder, or physically abusing kids? Aren’t they dangerous? Would you want your child near these people? They live among us too.“ I agree that some, if not most violent, predatory sex offenders will re-offend, and that is a deep concern. However don’t label all of us, before you know us, some of us work very hard to change and break the predatory label, and to not be given a second chance sucks.” Reporters note… state parole and probation officials say that those charged with sex crimes on parole or probation in Oregon are required to complete a sex offender treatment program before their sentence is complete. This is completed after release while on post-prison supervision, within the window of the sentence. If they don’t comply with the rules, their parole or probation officer can sanction them. The offender who spoke with Salem-News.com says if people really want to see change, they should ask an offender to come to a neighborhood meeting. See if he or she is making changes to his life, if not encourage him or her to do so. The past offender’s advice continues: “Be a good neighbor, don’t let offenders slip back into their old ways of thinking. Don’t just live scared, thinking that he or she is going to re-offend, help authorities by being a good neighbor and help him get the help he needs. Give the offender a chance, if he doesn’t change, then at least you can say you tried to help him get back on the right track to become part of society.” Milne and the offender both agreed on one thing; the solution may be for a private donor to donate land, or an apartment complex away from schools and parks that can provide the offenders a chance at rehabilitation, while giving authorities a more secure location to keep track of violent sex offenders on parole and probation. However both felt the chances of that happening are slim. There are approximately 700 registered sex offenders in Oregon who are classified as predatory or sexually violent dangerous offenders. The sex offenders listed on the site represent a fraction of about 14,500 registered sex offenders in Oregon. Because of a separate legal dispute, the list initially will not include the names of serious sex offenders who have been released from prison in the past 16 months. In February 2005, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that convicted sex offenders may challenge the "predatory" label and ordered the parole board to devise a new system for arriving at that designation. The board is scheduled to meet Aug. 1st to consider new procedures, including granting offenders a hearing to contest a predatory label. These offenders are required to register for life under Oregon law and their information will be permanently available on the state police website. Many counties already provide web-based information about sexual predators, but the OSP website will allow citizens to view the list of offenders in its entirety. As of July 1st, more than 85% of the predatory sex offenders are listed on the site. Not all sex offenders are classified as "predatory," so not every person who has been convicted of a sexual offense is, or will be listed on the website.
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