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registered sex offender 300 ft. from DC's preschool

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
*******X-Posted in Working Parents******

Have any of you experienced this before?

I am calling the director today to discuss and get more details, but I randomly did a search for sex offenders online and found one on the SAME street as my DD's preschool. This man was convicted of aggravated sexual assault on a little boy age 3 and a little girl age 6.

When I called yesterday and spoke to DD's teacher, she said he's been there as long as she's been at the school (at least 15 years). She also told me other parents have brought up this as a concern as well. Otherwise, she directed me to speak with the director of the school to find out what's been done or not done.

I'm feeling really disturbed about this. The children eat outside on a wrap around porch viewable from the street. There are gates, but they aren't even self latching gates. Last year, we had a real problem with people leaving the gate open (like hanging wide open) because the parents weren't latching it. DH and I asked to have him add springs and a self latching mechanism. They were OK with it, but they were acting a bit like we were being overprotective. Our main concern was *if* a child got out of the gates, there is a somewhat busy street there. The fact that there is a known child molester on the same street as the school bugs me a lot. If it were your school, would you have gates hanging open knowing this?? They put a sign out, but it took a long time for the parents to get their heads out of their you know whats about it.

I really do think its true that the children don't get out of the gates ever. Its a montessori school and they are big on routines. The kids know the rules and are very compliant and I believe the teachers are top notch and watching the children. But I still would never trust that 100%. Kids are still kids, and I worry esp. about the babies and toddlers decided they want to go find mommy or something and going out the door.

The other part of me says (and the internet search confirms) that these creeps are EVERYWHERE and at least these ones are known (as there are just as many never caught or convicted). Even if this guy moved, it means nothing different really when it comes to security. You just need to watch the kids period.

I thought there was a rule that they couldn't live within so many feet of a school, but according to my DH's research they CAN as long as its in the terms of their release. Seriously?? WTF is going on in this world? Who thinks letting a molester live that close to a preschool is OK?

I'm so totally irritated about this. It just feels weird dropping off your kid so close to this freak and going off to work.

All of this was triggered by the story of Chelsea King. How many more children are going to be raped and killed by recidivist criminals before we start making reasonable rules like not living *right* next to a preschool?

A good friend of mine is a lawyer and she told me we can get records detailing the whole case (so we can know exactly what this guy did). So I plan on doing that. I also think the other parents need to know about it, and see his picture etc. It bugs me that we never knew about this....but I can't say I blame the school for not advertising it (esp. if they can do nothing legally about it, and they are confident they are keeping the kids safe). It certainly isn't a selling point for the school. DD has gone there for 2 years now. We are thrilled with the school beyond this. But this is a big deal to me.

Any thoughts, mamas?
XOXO
B
post #2 of 27
I'd want latching gates for the safety reasons you mention.

I'd want to read the case information on the sexual assault.

And, okay, first - yeah, I wouldn't be happy to discover that someone convicted of aggravated sexual assault on children lived near my preschool, but I can't get behind the whole "what kind of world is it?" thing. It's entirely possible that he was in the neighborhood before the preschool. Preschools and daycares (especially daycares) open and close all the time, and I don't think anyone should be obligated to pack themselves up and move every time one of the neighbors takes it into their heads to try a home-based business. There are states where sex offenders aren't allowed to live near schools, daycares, churches or schools bus stops, and the result has been huge enforcement costs and very high homelessness among sex offenders (The Economist did a feature on this last year).

The Chelsea King story is tragic, but I don't see how it relates to your situation at all. Among other things, it would not have been prevented by stricter laws concerning where sex offenders can live.

Quote:
Even if this guy moved, it means nothing different really when it comes to security. You just need to watch the kids period.
This is the most important thing in your post.
post #3 of 27
I think, for sure the gate needs to be fixed.
I do agree that sex offenders (esp child molesters) should not be allowed to live that close to schools, but I also agree with MeepyCat that perhaps he was there before the school was built....in that case the school should have done some research before hand.
I wanted to add that you are fortunate to have access to the Registered Sex Offenders list....Here in Ontario the public cannot gain access to it because of the privacy act here...it is for police use only.
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
hey lonegirl,

I looked it up and the school was there in 1986. The offenses took place in 1991. So "we" were there first. I don't know if he lived their prior to 1986, but he chose to commit those acts living that close to an established preschool. So IMO, he needs to move. I don't care if its an inconvenience.

XOXO
B
post #5 of 27
Quote:
The Chelsea King story is tragic, but I don't see how it relates to your situation at all. Among other things, it would not have been prevented by stricter laws concerning where sex offenders can live.
I think the Chelsea King case has EVERYTHING to do with where John Gardner lived. He should have lived in prison still!!! The psychiatrist that evaluated him during the case that he was convicted in 2000 suggested the maximum sentence of 30 years. Something in that evaluation led the psychiatrist to believe he was a dangerous criminal. He was sentenced to only FIVE years. The psychiatrist was right and IF the district attorney and judge in that case had been "stricter" Chelsea King and possibly Amber Dubois would be alive today.



Quote:
I don't know if he lived their prior to 1986, but he chose to commit those acts living that close to an established preschool. So IMO, he needs to move. I don't care if its an inconvenience.
I agree. When is the safety of our children going to come before the rights of dangerous criminals? The rate of recidivism proves that child predators CAN'T control themselves as a whole. I wouldn't feel comfortable having him so close. It is likely that he was allowed to live there with the school being so close because the laws were more lenient then.
post #6 of 27
A bit off topic. I work in a school. By law we receive the name of sex offenders residing in the area by the school. While I'm not dismissing safety or anything like that, many of these offenders have committed acts like having sex with a minor, ie he is 20 something and the girl is 17. That doesn't right anything but the definition of a sex offender is wide.
post #7 of 27
Forgot to say that it should be public as to what the offense was.
post #8 of 27
Also, agree with this. The crime is public knowledge in my state and in this case it sounds as though the OP knows this person molested two young children ages 3 and 6, which is a real worry living next to a school with young children.
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by BethSLP View Post
hey lonegirl,

I looked it up and the school was there in 1986. The offenses took place in 1991. So "we" were there first. I don't know if he lived their prior to 1986, but he chose to commit those acts living that close to an established preschool. So IMO, he needs to move. I don't care if its an inconvenience.

XOXO
B
For sure...then he shouldn't be allowed to live that close to a school!
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by firewoman View Post
I think the Chelsea King case has EVERYTHING to do with where John Gardner lived. He should have lived in prison still!!! ..... When is the safety of our children going to come before the rights of dangerous criminals?
DAMN straight.
post #11 of 27
If i were in this situation i would be grateful to know who he was and where he was. The person who abused my brother, who then went on to abuse me, was the HEADTEACHER of our primary school, because he'd never gotten caught. Children live everywhere, it would be very difficult for this person to not live near any children, and he is not going to be a welcome neighbour anywhere. Better the devil you know, can keep an eye on and can warn people about?
post #12 of 27
Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know, IMO.

If the gate is fixed, I would be OK with the situation. The children are not outside unsupervised, right? I'd be much more concerned if he were near an elementary school, where children might be coming/going without parental supervision.
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by BethSLP View Post
hey lonegirl,

I looked it up and the school was there in 1986. The offenses took place in 1991. So "we" were there first. I don't know if he lived their prior to 1986, but he chose to commit those acts living that close to an established preschool. So IMO, he needs to move. I don't care if its an inconvenience.

XOXO
B
But was he there prior to the laws that required sex offenders to live a certain distance away from preschools? That may "grandfather" him in, in itself, depending on how the law's written.
post #14 of 27
Are the kids supervised while they eat? Are the drop off/pickup procedures sound?

If so then I wouldn't worry so much about it. The teachers know who to look for, so I can't see them letting a child go off with him. Montessori or no, preschoolers should be supervised.
post #15 of 27
As a person who works in re-entry (assisting offenders to reintegrate into the community) I can tell you that in spite of public opinion, recidivism rates for sex offenders are actually among the lowest. The highest rates of recidivism are among drug-related offenses. I would feel much safer, if I had to choose, in having a sex-offender next door than a person who has commited a drug-related crime. And drug offenses are far more common than sex offenses... it is very likely that although there is one sex offender living near the preschool, there are 2-3 drug-related offenders also living close to the school.

Requiring sex offenders to register and be tracked is a result of public pressure, not the result of data-driven decision making. It is recognized among law enforcement and corrections administration as a huge problem in that it draws funds from a population that doesn't warrant such monitoring at the expense of funding other types of monitoring that DO warrant such monitoring due to the harm and cost to society.
post #16 of 27
i totally agree with Lynn - an elementary school - yes an issue, a preschool not an issue for me.

dd's ps was 3 blocks from an apt that housed interim child molesters. not on the same block mind you - however a place where a bunch of new molesters were living. a halfway house? safety was never a concern of mine because the school had a pretty strict policy. another ps/dc was located at a terrible location - half a block or a block away from transient housing, half way house for alcoholic and drug abusers as well as convicted predators. it is one of the most wellknown montessori ps/dc in our city. they still get business even though all those things are pretty visible as the neighbourhood is pretty run down. i think the school has been there for 20 years, changed hands a few times, but they have never had any incidents.

however i live in a city and a neighborhood that is teaming with molesters. i never check the list or who is where. that is immaterial to me. i guess for me i am more scared of the unconvicted rather than the convicted and i take precautions accordingly.
post #17 of 27
That's interesting BellinghamCrunchie. I also thought child molesters had a high rate of recidivism. But I would vastly prefer living near (and frequently have) drug dealers than sex offenders. The natures of the crimes are incredibly different to me. I've known low level drug dealers. I just don't get the comparison. Sex offenders for the most part have committed an atrocity against another human being and sometimes that human is a child.
I don't know the correct legal terms but honestly someone who has committed a sexual assault on a child should be in jail for the rest of their lives in my opinion.
To the OP, I would also be disturbed but like others have said, what can you do? I would be comforted by what BellinghamCrunchie said and also I think it's rare for a child to be molested by a stranger. This individual probably poses very very little risk.
post #18 of 27
I lived near drug dealers when i was a single parent (and had limited funds for rent). There were drug addicts and prostitutes around our street all hours of the day, MY door got kicked by people desperate to get the dealers (for money or drugs i don't know), and there was a (non-fatal but very serious) stabbing and a (fatal) serious assault within 100 yeards of my home, oh and a shooting about 500yards away (in the UK shootings are rare). Personally i am not concerned about a molester who is keeping themself to themself and not bothering me (and i would be able to keep a VERY close eye on that) compared to wondering if i will be mistaken for a prostitute and abused or propositioned (happened several times, when i had DD in a meitai on my back and was wearing oversize modest clothing) or mistaken for a dealer and threatened every time i leave my house.
post #19 of 27
I am not comforted by what BellinghamCrunchie says because it is misleading although I don't believe she meant it to be. Yes, perhaps, when we look at statistics that encompass ALL sex offenders, the recidivism rate seems low. That is because statutory rape is a sex offense and so is indecent exposure. If an 18 year old man has sex with a willing 16 year old in some states he can be convicted of a sex offense. It is unlikely that the 18 year old will make that mistake again if convicted. If another young man say 21 gets drunk during a Spring Break party and exposes himself somehow during a lapse in judgement, it is doubtful he will put himself through the trouble of doing that again. However, violent rapists and pedofiles often are repeat offenders. So it really depends on how you look at the data and which data you include. If you look at recidivism rates among only violent sex offender and pedofiles, the numbers are vastly different than the ones that include ALL sex offenders.

It isn't surprising that drug offenders have such a high rate of recidivism considering many non-violent drug offenders are imprisoned for drug USE. Generally speaking drug addicted people stay drug addicted so that fact they are repeatedly convicted of different drug offenses is no big surprise. This comparison is apples and oranges. I don't think we are talking about the monetary drain on society as whole, but more the risk that violent sex offenders pose to our CHILDREN. I'm sure that some would argue that drug dealers are a risk to our children and I can't disagree with that, but if I had to choose (and I know this may sound odd) I would rather my child die from a drug overdose than at the hands of one of these sick sex offenders.

To put it simply, I wouldn't love living next to a drug dealer because there are obvious risks with that situation, but living next to a VIOLENT sex offender bothers me more.
post #20 of 27
The attitude that abuse is the same as or worse than death is really not very helpful to those who are recovering.
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