Monday, August 26, 2013

Colonial Heights, Virginia Mother Doesn’t Want Son to Walk to School Past Two Registered Sex Offenders Homes

It’s back-to-school time in the Commonwealth and what does that mean?

What else? Virginia television news stations running stories about Registered Sex Offenders living near school bus stops and RSO’s being on or near the route of students walking to and from school. 

Last week it was WAVY 10 about a Va Beach mothers complaints, today it’s NBC12 Richmond about a Colonial Height’s mother complaints. 

Like most Virginians, the NBC12 mother thinks the Registered Sex Offenders with their residences and employers information all being public are a significant risk to public safety. That is a misnomer. It’s the unknown “sex offenders” who aren’t registered that pose a much, much higher threat to children.

This story as all other similar stores leads viewers to believe that the Registered Sex Offenders who have their residences and employers information available to the public are a significant risk to public safety. This is a misnomer.

It’s the unknown “sex offenders” who aren’t registered that pose an actual threat to children.

The recidivism rate for Registered Sex Offenders is the second LOWEST of ALL crime.

1.       Vehicle Thefts, 78.8%*
2.       Selling stolen property, 77.4%*
3.       Burglary, 74%*
4.       Larceny, 74.6%*
5.       Possessing/Selling stolen weapons, 70.2%*
6.       Robbery, 70.2%*
7.       Domestic Battery, 41%**
8.       Drugs, 27%*
9.       Rape/Sexual Assault 2.5%*
10.     Murder 1.2%

        - 2002 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics
**     - 2000 Edward Gondolf, Reassault at 30-Months after Batterer Program Intake, 44 Int'l J. of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

Statistically speaking when a new sex crime occurs in the Commonwealth more than 98% will be by someone never convicted of a sex crime before (not by someone on the registry) and 95% will be by an acquaintance like a teacher, a coach or a family member, not a stranger.  

During the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session I publicly opposed Delegate Bob Marshall’s bill HB1369 which was drafted after another angry mother in Fairfax County (not his district) went to a news channel to complain about her child’s bus stop in relation to an RSO in late 2012 and before that there was a similar bill proposed in 2008.

In 2011 an extremely broad bill HB1523 was proposed that would have prohibited an RSO from walking their own children to and from a bus stop, from waiting in inclement weather with their child in their vehicle within 500 ft. of the bus stop or from even driving within 500 ft. a bus stop (leaving your street for work, stopping for the flashing lights, etc). I also publicly opposed this bill pointing out the state can’t make traveling on a public street a felony offense.

And one of the most popular kind of bus stop bills (and unconstitutional), restricting the residences of RSO’s in relation to the stops, in 2010 HB1004 and in 2011 HB1823  BOTH never even made it to committee after I lobbied against them, with facts not fear. The legal counsel to the VSCC and Senate Courts of Justice Committee have both publicly stated that such laws have been ruled unconstitutional across the country and if Virginia attempts to increase the distance or add additional locations to the current prohibition that that action could result in a legal challenge that takes down the entire statute.