I read an interesting story in today's paper, a story that both infuriated and frightened me. Apparently a sex offender who had served all of his 10 year sentence, moved into a house inside a school zone in Newport. The city council was notified about his release, as was the police department and two schools, but the city has no authority to notify the public, in fact, if it did notify the public of this sex offenders inclusion into the population, they could open themselves to lawsuits. In fact, the city of Newport has NO RIGHTS at all when it comes to notifying their townspeople about criminals in their neighborhoods. The rules that govern sex offenders, murderers, drug dealers...are made by the state of Vermont, and therefore the state of vt, and the department of corrections are the people that are responsible for notifying towns about the release and inclusion of inmates into vermont cities and towns. and even then, they dont have to if the said criminal has completed all of his or her time. So, as in this case, if an offender completes his sentence and the sex offender programs, the department of corrections is not responsible for supervising him. Which means, no supervision from authorities, the public is unaware and unable to supervise him in their neighborhood, the schools go on, unaware of his presense..so where does the blame lie when a child gets molested or worse ?
Im sure there are sex offenders out there that are truly not a threat, a 19 year old boy who sleeps with a 14 year old girl is most likely not a threat to children, and perhaps even this man in Newport is not a "true" threat to young kids. But do we want to risk our children to find out? I dont. I don't there there are many parents out there that would be comfortable knowing there was a convicted sex offender in their midst.
I guess my biggest issue with all of this is when did the criminals rights overtake the honest citizens rights? I ran into this same thing in the school system with the bullying that went on with my son, the bully was protected by confidentiality, as is the criminal in this case. They are protected. while our children remain ignorant to a possible threat. what about their rights?
And with the local police department unable to monitor or notify who protects our children?? Who protects us? And people wonder what happens to push people over the edge and take the law into their own hands. its things like this that are destroying America. People taking their rights, but ignoring their responsibilities. If freed sex offenders are given the right to live in our communities, then it is the responsibilty of the lawmakes to make sure those communities know who is living there. And perhaps we, as towns and neighborhoods need to take more responsibilty when it comes to our kids, know where they are, make sure they are aware of things that can happen if they travel alone. Its a hard line to walk, not wanting to scare them so theyre afraid of everything, but needing them to be aware of their surroundings.
I dont know what would work to turn this around, Im tired of feeling like my rights are being stripped away one at a time, Im tired of being a "good" citizen and watching people like this sex offender have their rights count more than mine. There was a time when criminals were treated as such, if they broke the law, they had no rights. I don't think thats such a bad thing.