Tuesday, November 13, 2012

OR - Residents outraged sex offender treatment center near schools

Original Article


By Patrick Preston

PORTLAND - Hundreds of homeowners are furious they've been in the dark about the existence of a sex offender treatment center near their children's schools for nearly a year.

There are no signs outside Whole Systems on Milwaukie Avenue, but from the playground of the Boys and Girls Club, the door of the sex offender treatment center can be seen. The Montessori school is also less than 300 feet from the center.

Many homeowners are just now learning about the center and some of them expressed fear and anger Monday night at a loud and tense meeting in Sellwood.

One hundred twenty convicts from Clackamas and Multnomah counties receive court-ordered counseling at the center for crimes such as molestation, possession of child pornography and rape of a minor.

"You just don't put this type of population in the middle of a residential neighborhood with lots of stay-at-home moms, lots of young kids," said Robin Springer, who organized the meeting.

Whole Systems moved to its current location from Oregon City last December but most of the 100 people who gathered at the meeting never complained because they didn’t know about it.
- So it's been there for almost 1 year, and no problems, which again, proves that sex offenders are not the evil "monsters" the media, police, politicians and others believe, and that recidivism is low.  If they were as bad as people believe, there would be crimes all over the place, but there isn't.

"It's just unconscionable to me; in fact, I find it morally reprehensible," Springer said.

Meeting organizers made their goal clear, which is to get the sex offenders out of the neighborhood, but not everybody stuck to that agenda. A few tried to defend the treatment center and one couple was drowned out with applause until they left.

And the director of Whole Systems, Johneen Manno, crashed the meeting but was asked to leave.

Outside the meeting, Manno said she's open to relocating.

"I would like to talk to the property owner about that (getting out of the lease) and if he feels it's a good solution, then absolutely," she said.

Manno said she tried to tell the community about the treatment center but few at Monday night's meeting thought she tried hard enough.

They're now telling schools, churches and the rest of the community to talk with kids about the center. And they say they plan to pressure the landlord and whoever else they need to, to remove the sex offenders.

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LJW said...

They need to talk to their children for sure. They need to explain that 95% of abuse starts either in the home or with a close, trusted friend of the family. Once they are prepared for that, then please tell them to make smart decisions and do not put themselves in danger unnecessarily.

If the place has been there for a year and there were no incidents, then that's exactly what the statistics would expect. However, during that same year, statistics would estimate that between 10-23% of children in that area were molested by someone they know.

I'd bet 1000 out of 1000 people would say "not in MY family" and they would be saying that honestly, but the fact remains, children are being molested and it's not being reported in a lot of those cases. It would be interesting to survey the children in this community to see if they've been molested and by who.

Then maybe the community could turn it's efforts towards itself and make a real difference in their children's lives. Horror inside the home rarely shows outside. The people you would believe to be the most incapable of molesting a child, may be because everyone ignores the signs. If the community wanted to be active in preventing child abuse (lest we forget that there are kinds of abuse than sexual abuse), then learning the signs and early intervention are much more useful than a witch hunt.

Now I know that witch hunts in the fall are a lot of fun, but if you claim to be a child advocate, wouldn't preventing or at least limiting the most likely causes of child abuse really make an impact? Wouldn't it be a better world if children felt safe enough to know they could tell someone that would believe them? Wouldn't families heal more quickly if they were treated as a family? Denial leads to more abuse on top of the original abuse. Many of these kids will grow up, live their whole lives with the shame and guilt, may not even know why, because the community decided that factless witch hunts were more important than they were.

SOIssues said...

Like we said, this place has been there for almost a year with no problems, as far as sex crimes, and now it's a problem? They claim it's because they didn't know, well, now they know, so they can stop the witch hunt and go about their business as usual, just be cautious if it freaks you out. But you see, it's not about what they say, they just don't want the place in their neighborhood, that is obvious, and if the place is there legally, then the business should ignore them, let them protest if needed, as long as they are not disturbing the peace and hampering the business.

Loneranger said...

The people that are going in for counselling are under supervision. Their counselor can put them back in jail at any moment if they feel they are doing anything. This includes looking at the door of the school down the street if they feel it's somehow sexual in nature. They are there trying to get through this and get their life back. At least what little they will have given the way others treat them. The media once again in this case fuels the perception of anything sex offenders do as being a danger. Now even going to counseling is being hampered. When will it be enough?

When they are finished with counselling and probation or parole they are then free to be anywhere they want to be. When they are on probation or parole they can not be around minors at least unsupervised. This means if they were to have contact with a minor they could go back to jail. Think about how many safe guards are in place. The ones that are showing up for counselling are following the rules. Worry about the 90 percent that have not been caught and leave the ones that are trying to get on with their lives alone. Either your part of the solution or the problem.

SOIssues said...

Not all who are going to treatment are under supervision, so those who are not on probation or parole, the counselor cannot put them back in jail/prison, he/she can only contact police if they believe something is not right with someone.

And not all of those on probation or parole have the regulation that they cannot be around children.

Not all ex-sex offenders are alike, which I don't think you believe, but your words above seem to say otherwise, at least to me.