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Sex Offenders Live Closer to Children as Litigation Unfolds

As more legal challenges to an aspect of Jessica's Law occur, more violent sex offenders are allowed to live closer to schools and parks while the courts sort out individual cases.

Five years after California voters approved Jessica’s Law, a yearlong legal challenge in state courts is allowing potentially dangerous sex offenders to live closer to children.

Paroled sex offenders claim the residency requirements under Proposition 83, otherwise known as Jessica's Law, are so strict that many have turned to prison or homelessness to survive. They are fighting the requirement that any registered sex offender is barred from living within 2,000 feet of any school or playground where children gather.

In Nov. 2010 an LA County Superior Court judge ruled the restriction increased the homeless population of paroled sex offenders, endangering the public and issued a stay. The ruling was temporary, however, as a flood of lawsuits from other paroled sex offenders flooded the courts.

As litigation unfolds, The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has eased back on enforcement of the residency restriction, putting some of the most dangerous sex offenders, those accused of crimes against children, closer to schools and parks.

According to information provided by the Megan's Law web site, at least seven paroled sex offenders claimed residence well inside 2,000 feet of some Glendora schools and parks.

One parolee, charged with lewd or lascivious act with a child under 14, claimed residence at least 700 feet from .

Another, accused of oral copulation with a minor under 14 years Of age or by force or fear, claimed residence less than 700 feet from and less than 500 feet from Willow Springs Park.

While the Megan's Law web site includes the most current information provided by local police departments on a parolee's residency, the parolees are required to notify authorities about their residency within five days of moving and may have done so recently.

For Glendora, like all cities countywide, all the city can do is wait while the court battles continue.

"Whether it's going to be enforced statewide and countywide, that's a different question," said Wayne Leech, Glendora city attorney.

Leech said that the city tends to follow the lead of the County DA. If they will ramp up enforcement or continue to ease back, the city will follow suit one way or the other.

In July, The LA County Court of Appeals overturned the stay, calling it premature, saying that it may be unconstitutional on a case-by-case basis and such evidence has yet to be shown, Leech said.

"You kind of have to ask yourself the question, is that something that we want to try to enforce right now," Leech said.

Glendora is currently home to 59 registered sex offenders. Of those, 35 are listed under the Megan's Law web site for the seriousness of their crimes.

Of those 35, three must wear GPS devices.

Many cities, including Glendora, have so many schools and parks that housing for paroled sex offenders is virtually impossible to find.

"I think if you look at a map, there's virtually no place in the city of Glendora that any of these registered could live," said Lt. Brian Summers of Glendora Police. "If it's any park or school, it's basically just about any one of them."

Glendora adopted a municipal code mirroring the state's residency requirements a little over a year ago, Summers said. The code was being fully enforced, but Leech recommended the suspension of the law to see the outcome of county court cases.

"We don't want to get ourselves involved in needless litigation over the constitutionality of our ordinance," Leech said. "The public's health and safety welfare is of paramount importance as well. Law enforcement and state and local legislators have to try to deal with it."

To meet other requirements under the law, Glendora Police may team up with probation to perform compliance checks on parolees. Glendora detectives will even perform their own checks. Parolees must submit to a search of their residence and have a current photograph taken, Summers said.

"We keep an eye on where they are at," Leech said about Glendora's registered sex offenders. "I think the laws that are in place do a pretty good job of protecting the health and safety of our citizens."

Valerie Parkhurst December 07, 2011 at 09:54 AM
Registered sex offenders are getting jobs in schools as teachers, administrators, volunteers, and contractors, despite state laws that prohibit them from contact with children, says a"" U.S. Government Accountability Office""" study reported by USA Today. School officials in some states enable misconduct to continue by ignoring red flags during hiring or by covering up the firing of sexual offenders, the report says. The report is based on a review of 15 cases in 11 states over the last decade. Of those, 11 offenders had previously targeted children, and six abused more children in their new positions. About 35 states have laws restricting offenders from schools, and most states require criminal history checks, though specifics vary widely, the report found. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), who requested the investigation, urged states to strengthen laws or pass a law if they don't have them. An Education Department study estimates that millions of kids in kindergarten through 12th grade are victims of sexual misconduct by a school employee. The GAO report notes most sexual abuse of children goes unreported. In one study, ""232 child molesters admitted to molesting 17,000 victims, often without ever being caught."" Hows that for statistics???? 17,000 victims?? I wonder if these poor excuses for DNA had been jailed rather than roaming the streets if the victim count would have been lower????
Shelly Stow December 07, 2011 at 02:07 PM
I did Google; no kids molested, murdered, and thrown from cars that I can find. Valerie, I normally give your rant the attention it deserves and ignore it, but I realized something interesting. Your techniques—ranting, bullying, threatening, name-calling, insulting, demeaning, belittling—are techniques used by the stereotypical aggressive abuser. I believe you have found your niche. I must also comment on the GAO article you reference. A study population of 15 scattered over 11 states over 10 years is an extremely limited and focused study. It is akin to my going into a prison of 1000 people, picking 2 who had a history of repeat insurance fraud scams, releasing and monitoring them, and then when they again perpetrated an insurance scam, using them in a study to show the high recidivism of insurance fraud scam artists.
Shelly Stow December 07, 2011 at 02:08 PM
And since you have difficulty understanding statistics, here is an interesting report that, in this section at least, doesn’t use any. It is from the NEW YORK STATE SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION 2009 - 2010 REPORT: “Reject additional further residency restriction proposals and instead reinforce the ability of individual probation and parole officers to assess whether there are residences that are inappropriate for certain individuals such that they would pose an unacceptable risk of re-offense….. All of the empirical research examining the effectiveness of residency restrictions shows that residency restrictions do not work to reduce the risk of harm to children. They have been shown to discourage offenders from reporting their whereabouts to law enforcement, and they destabilize offenders’ lives, creating roadblocks to successful re-integration into society and increasing the risk of recidivism. Housing stability is a key to reducing recidivism….” (page 28) Individualized assessment and management based on individual needs rather than applied to entire categories of people based on a label that covers everything from the silly to the horrific—what a refreshing concept.
Valerie Parkhurst December 07, 2011 at 04:03 PM
umm you forgot to paste: Sexual assault is a crime that is devastating and life altering. The emotional confusion and aftermath experienced by a victim of a sexual assault can manifest a number of obstacles delaying or possibly eliminating the process of healing. When the victims of sexual assault are children the process of healing becomes their childhood. When a crime of this magnitude is committed against a child, someone who cannot defend or fight for themselves we must fight for them. If we allow the perpetrators of child sexual abuse to continue to prey on the children of New York State, we are not only failing the children, but condoning the actions of these pedophiles. Due to the" high number" of unreported cases and the effect on the victim’s quality of life, it has become very apparent that the current laws of New York State pertaining to child sexual abuse are glaringly inadequate and unable to address the many legal and ethical issues that exist. The typical child sexual offender molests an average of 117 children, most of whom do not report the offense. PAGE 71 from the NEW YORK STATE SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION 2009 - 2010 REPORT: Shelly I have invited you on multiple occasions, you want to eliminate residency restrictions? I want to eliminate sexual based crimes..tell your buddies to quit the crimes and only then will we gain any middle ground.
Valerie Parkhurst December 07, 2011 at 04:19 PM
At least I dont go around trying to tie a pink bow around these horrendous crimes like you do Shelly. Always minimizing, always crying the poor, poor offender, You only pop your head out to feed when the topic is either the Registry or residency restrictions to throw your "empirical data" out for anyone who will fall for it.Then try and convince anyone who will listen that these guys are always over-prosecuted and just mis-understood. The closest post you have made to being outraged in all the years I have gone back and forth with you is to call the guy who murdered the 7 year old a monster! Funny you never appear on forums where the headlines give graphic accounts of what these freaks are capable of. No, not Shelly, you dont give a damn about those kids and prefer not to "highlight that dirty little aspect" of your precious offenders. My "Niche" in case you Forgot? Is to tear all those pink bows off YOU keep tying around these crimes! If it takes my brash approach to do that? SO BE IT!

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