Thursday, July 26, 2012
First, I would like to say that I have never blogged before. I am just a run of the mill type of gal. I was a straight A student in high school...went to a top university, graduated, got my first job, went to grad school, had a baby, and now I am engaged to be married. Well, maybe that last part was a little backwards, but the rest was pretty much right in line as far as how we are all "supposed" to do things. However, since I had a child, I started to look at things a little deeper. Not just how they affect me...but how do they affect my family. My husband, my child, my future children, my home. All things that one thinks about when they start a family. I began to think of the things that we take for face value. How much truth are we told? I want this blog to be a place where people can be told the truth...not just perpetuate the information that we take at face value.
So, you may ask... Why did I start thinking about this?
You can see the video at the link above.
By Beth Beechie
GREAT FALLS - Once the Montana Sex Offender Treatment Association evaluates a person who has been convicted of a sexual offense, that person is categorized via Montana's three-tier System.
Level 1 deems the offender at low risk of a repeat offense; Level 2 rates the person at a moderate risk of another offense; Level 3 considers the person a threat to public safety and an evaluator believes he/she is a sexually violent predator.
Earlier this week, 35-year-old [name withheld] was charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of children.
[name withheld] already has a conviction for sexual intercourse without consent; in that case, [name withheld] was babysitting the 3-year-old victim in 1997. He was originally given a 20 year sentence for that crime, with 18 years suspended.
In exchange for his guilty plea he was placed in the Intensive Supervision Program, which means no jail time.
The agreement was reached in June of 1998; a little more than a month later he violated terms of that sentence by having pornography in his possession. The state took no action at that time.
A year later, in July of 1999, [name withheld] was found with more pornography and a 17-year-old girl was staying at his residence, which was another clear violation of his agreement. Later that year Judge McKittrick revoked [name withheld]'s original sentence and imposed a 20 year sentence with 10 years suspended.
[name withheld] completed sex offender treatment at Montana State Prison and was released in 2007.
Three years later a Certified Sexual Offender Treatment Specialist discharged [name withheld] from her aftercare treatment program.
At the time of discharge the counselor wrote: "I would classify [name withheld] as a low risk for re-offense."
"It's a personal choice to make a relapse and if they're not using the coping mechanisms that they've been given or have integrated treatment for themselves, that's a personal choice they make to relapse," Barb Bottomley, a licensed clinical professional counselor, said.
The time spent in treatment is ultimately decided by the courts and can vary widely in length. But to complete treatment offenders must pass a polygraph while showing steps toward progress.
All the while, offenders must comply with state laws imposed, which include routine address verifications. However, offenders have no restrictions on where to live, unless imposed by the courts.
Statistics from the Montana Department of Corrections state that 2% of offenders who undergo treatment re-offend. Those without treatment: 26%.
Bottomley says that not offending again is a constant conflict, adding, "Most of them have an addiction. And like I said, the undertow is very scary. And it's a daily struggle."
By Jamie Lynn
MARYSVILLE - When a home for sex offenders moved into a quiet Marysville neighborhood, one family felt they had no choice but to pack their bags and move.
Michelle Morck and her family have lived in the same home for the last 20 years. Two years ago they opened an in-home pastry shop, called Gracie's Pastries.
All was going well until last month, when an officer from the Department of Corrections came to the house to notify Morck that a level-3 sex offender would be visiting the home adjacent to her property.
"She let us know that there were three offenders currently residing there," Morck said. "There was going to be a minimum of 21 sex offenders residing just yards from our home."
The news spooked her, and she began thinking about all the bad things that could happen.
"We couldn't take that chance," she said. "We need to close the business."
The family is now looking for a home away from Snohomish County, but they didn't go down without a fight. Morck took her concerns to the Marysville City Council, where Mayor Jon Nehring pledged to help the cause.
"I can tell you we are proactively looking for state legislators to change that because that is exactly what needs to happen," Nehring said at the meeting.
It's not just the Morck family concerned about the sex offenders, either. A father who lives near the home didn't want to be identified, but echoed many of Morck's concerns.
"I'm not staying. In good conscience, as a parent, I cant allow my family to stay here," the man said. "Budget be damned. I don't have a choice."
Like many of her neighbors, Morck said she doesn't feel like she has a choice.
"We have absolutely no control," she said. "We are completely helpless."
The home is operating legally and none of the sex offenders are accused of doing anything wrong since moving in. Morck said even though her family is leaving, she's going to follow up with state lawmakers about the situation.