Thursday, July 7, 2016

Dear NBC12-Richmond VA, Why Did you Feel the Need to Take a Sexual Assault at a Assisted Living Facility and Turn it Into a Registered Sex Offender Story?

The below was emailed to on July 6, 2016 at 6:50PM

Stephanie Robusto, 

I just watched your piece air, Violations uncovered at assisted living facility following alleged sexual assault 

Your report repeatedly used the terms Sex Offender and Sex Offender Registry and I’m really perplexed why. 

The person who committed the sexual assault at that facility was NOT a Registered Sex Offender. 

Virginia law prohibits any Registered Sex Offender from working at an assisted living facility. 

Your report tonight stated that the facility did not run any residents names against the Virginia State Police Registry, even though there has been no claim any current residents at that facility are listed on the VSP Registry.  

And if there were any residents of the facility listed on the VSP Registry, they’d have every right to be in an assisted living facility. The Registrants legal-duty is to notify the Virginia State Police within 3 days of the change in their address and the VSP would come to the facility to confirm the information or the Registrant faces a felony.

Then your report stated a daycare shares the same address (a complex of buildings) as the assisted living facility but is not in the same building. Again, Virginia law prohibits a Registrant from working or being at a daycare facility and if the buildings are completely separate then it’s a non-issue, but yet you felt the need to mention the daycare location. 

A sexual assault occurred at an assisted living facility, the perpetrator is known and perhaps better surveillance of the resident’s rooms and entrances is needed. If that facility has had violations, then they need to rectify them immediately or the State needs to take necessary steps. 

But to spin the assault at the assisted living facility into a Sex Offender issue is extremely misleading to viewers who hear your use of keywords like Sex Offender and Registry 

Back in 2010 I had to fight back a Bill (HB967-Peace) that was amended 3 weeks after the Virginia General Assembly session had begun that would have banned all Registered Sex Offenders who were disabled, elderly or in need of care from Virginia Rehabilitation and Assisted Living facilities. It wouldn’t have mattered if they were paralyzed, had suffered a stroke, had Alzheimer’s, lost a limb and need physical therapy or were dying of cancer. Thankfully the 2010 Bill had the amendment removed after lobbing the Legislature and contacting civil rights groups and medical associations who were all appalled by such a proposal. 

So watching your report was extremely offensive to me, knowing how easily some Legislators would slip-in such a clear violation of medical care and basic rights from Virginians who are living in our communities today into a Bill that originally was innocuous. It was as if your report was intentionally attempting to instigate such a response from NBC12 viewers. 

Registered Sex Offenders had nothing to do with this recent assault and bringing them into today’s report was reckless. 

I hope NBC12 will avoid such pandering in the future. 


Mary Davye Devoy