Friday, September 27, 2013

TX - HOA facing lawsuit after sex offender told to stay out

Original Article



AUSTIN - A homeowner's association is trying to keep sex offenders out -- now it's facing a lawsuit.

The Valley View Village Condominiums, located behind Highway 71 in Southwest Austin is a quiet, small community of about 68 families.

"We watch out for one another," said community board member Eleanor Rotthoff.

Walking through the neighborhood with her granddaughter one day, Eleanor Rotthoff met a new neighbor.

"He had an absolutely adorable border collie puppy and we had to stop and play with the puppy and admire it," Rotthoff said.

She soon learned that man, _____, is a convicted sex offender.

"My blood ran cold quite frankly," she explained.

In 1991 a Williamson County court convicted _____ of indecency with a child and sentenced him to eight years.

"When I did find out it involved a sexual assault on a 12-year-old -- I realized my granddaughter at that point was 12. It was not a comfortable feeling," Rotthoff said.

He's also been charged with failure to register as a sex offender after he listed the wrong address, he served three more years for that. After his release last September he moved back home to Valley View with his wife.

"Our position is, it's a violation of my client's constitutional rights, and state law rights," said Fred Williams, a partner with The Akin Gump law firm who is representing _____ and his wife.

Williams says since _____'s parole ended in November, his only requirement is to register with the state.

But the HOA says under its rules, no convicted sex offender can be within 2,000 feet of a place where children congregate -- like the pool, or a nearby bus stop.

"This is an effort by the homeowners association to take the law upon themselves and create their own little law for the neighborhood," Williams said.

Akin Gump is taking on the case pro bono.

"I find it incomprehensible that they have decided to make a crusade on behalf of pedophiles," said Rotthoff. "We're just some ordinary, South Austin, middle class people trying to protect our children."
- Not all ex-sex offenders, or those who have harmed a child sexually, are pedophiles!

Originally, the HOA asked _____ to leave or pay a $1,000.00 a day fine. They have now agreed to let him stay for the duration of the lawsuit.


dlc said...

Unfortunately, this vigilantism is going to continue to get worse. We see that assaults on sex offenders is on the rise because of the public registries. This will continue to spiral out of control until the registries are brought down and the public realizes that the politicians have once again been using this to raise more for themselves while appearing too look tough on crime and shift the public focus away from other pressing matters..

Mark said...

"My blood ran cold quite frankly," she explained. And here we are. She came face-to-face with a monster and her blood congealed, Amazing isn't it? I bet her mouth got dry too she shivered, looked for an escape door, wanted to scream but was frozen in "HORROR." I just don't know how Soissues can read these articles everyday and remain sane, I truly do not know how you folks do it.

Sex Offender Issues said...

What makes you think we are sane? :)

Mark said...

Just a guess! LOL!

Tracie Shaw said...

My boyfriend and I have lived in a private owned condo for 4 years now. Our landlord has never had any problem with us in all this time. The bf is a SO but not on any risk level. He has no restrictions. The HOA has started posting signs in trees warning the complex about the convicted child sex offender living there. The victim was 14. This started after 3 years of living here peacefully. Now they are making up infractions that we apparently are making. Funnily enough, he wasn't here on the property for one of them and the other one was keeping our laundry room doors open on the balcony that we had been doing for 4 years but suddenly was a problem. They sent notices of infractions to us but never sent them to the landlord. Not only do the signs indicate where he loves but where he parks his vehicle. My vehicle was parked in our assigned spot and my car was vandalized. Now I know why. They are trying to impose infractions on us to make us leave as legally they cannot force us or our landlord to evict us. The board has voted us 2 to 10 to have us leave. Eight board members want the witch hunt dropped but 2 want him gone. He's not a monster. They even put a camera up to 'watch the parking lot' but the parking lot is too far to see! But it points right at our dwelling to make sure he doesn't attack children on the sidewalk. We work and come home and don't talk to anyone. He has served him time, how long do we have to punish him? Why do the hoas think they are the law?

Happy Joyous and Free said...

I feel for both of you. Housing for many XSO's is such a problem. My mom basically bought a townhouse with me so I could have a safe place to live. I pay the mortgage and maintain the townhouse. I moved in May 2008. I didn't have any problems until late 2009/2010. My house has been vandalized three times, twice with spray paint. The city police lied when they said they would increase monitoring. I have had FROZEN eggs thrown at my cars.

In my state, each county has at least one State Trooper assigned per county to handle verification and to take calls from XSO's. The trooper for the next county over lives on my street. I got him involved. The state police went to the city police. The last time my place was vandalized, the police actually came out and took photos, did the whole thing. The neighbor teenagers haven't bothered me since.

However, my HOA is another thing. I have infractions every year for petty things. They even said that the shed in my backyard was not in compliance and needed to be removed. I took the listing sheet and photos from the appraisal before I bought the house, made copies, and personally delivered them to the HOA. I was given the run-around of "we lost a lot of papers when the office flooded" as an answer. I cannot go to HOA meetings because they are held in the local school.

I have met several of my neighbors. I'm fairly quiet, so I don't interact with them that often. About half of the townhouses are rentals.