Our December 1st speaker was Detective Anthony Stevenson who oversees the of sex offenders in the area. Considering the numbers, he sets forth, it is at least a formidable assignment. His first point is that such as they have no distinguishing characteristics. They can be anyone. They pervade society, with 1,275 living in Seattle, plus those who are among the homeless. Stevenson also deals with those charged and convicted of kidnapping. Both types of offenders must register. This results from Megan’s Law, emanating from a case of kidnapping/rape/murder in New Jersey. The Law requires that such offenders must not only register, but also that the community be apprised of where they reside. The total registered in King County presently stands at 3,532.
Levels I, II, and III classification of offenders based on the severity and frequency of their crimes, III being the highest risk. Local police agency will notify of an offender’s address and where he is registered. The County Sheriff’s office tracks homeless SO’s via weekly sign-in sheets. If the requirement is violated, a criminal case is instituted.
- Level I–These have violated people they know, and are of least risk to the community.
- Level II–This includes such as teachers, pedophiles, baby sitters. They generally have had more than one victim.
- Level III–This type of predator is of greatest risk to the community. Their crimes are of the violent type. They generally do not know their victims. They must be checked in every 90 days. The media and public at large are informed of them. Schools and day care facilities are prepared when offenders live in the neighborhood. Washington laws do not restrict where they live. In extreme cases, court orders and the Department of Corrections may restrict where they can be located.
As to what to do:
- Educate children about the techniques of offenders.
- Stay alert and report suspicious activity via 911 or to the offices whose phone numbers have been provided by the speaker.
Comment: It is grimly surprising as to how many engage in this type of behavior–no less surprising than, say, the incidence of domestic violence. These are scary times. Those who are trusting–and there are many–are fair game. Sadly, it is necessary to teach and practice suspicion.