Sioux City Journal Mobile home court evicts sex offenders by yaoyufang


									Sioux City Journal: Mobile home court evicts sex offenders                                                                        01/08/2007 02:17 PM


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  Mobile home court evicts sex                                                           — ADVERTISEMENT —

  Questions still remain about where
  offenders can live
  SOUTH SIOUX CITY -- Even though laws have been passed
  regulating how close registered sex offenders can live to
  schools and day-care centers, how close they should be
  allowed to live to children's homes remains a contentious

  In October, 11 sex offenders were registered as living at the
  Lake Village Mobile Home Court, 604 152nd St., outside of
  South Sioux City. That number included five assessed at
  high risk to reoffend by Nebraska Sex Offender Registry
  officials. A few children's bikes lay strewn in front yards of
  trailers across the street from where four of those high-risk
  offenders lived within 500 feet of each other.

  In a mobile home court with about 65 homes -- and many
  of those owned by non-English-speaking families with
  children -- it was a situation that could have become a serious problem, said Susie Squires, president of the Watchful
  Eye Foundation, a South Sioux City sex offender watchdog group that educates families and children on how to protect
  themselves from predators.

  "If the courts are going to release them into society, legally they have to live somewhere," Squires said. "But when
  such a high number of them end up in one place so close to so many children, you have to wonder what might

  Walk-through to eviction

  Squires said she discovered the high concentration of offenders through the production of the foundation's magazine,
  "Variety/Variedad," which lists all registered sex offenders living in the tri-state area. In mid-October, she organized a
  walk-through at the mobile home court to pass out copies of the magazine and inform residents about the offenders
  living virtually in their backyards.

  "The people there felt abandoned, forgotten -- they felt no one would really do anything about it because the offenders
  could legally live there," she said. "For many of the residents, living there is all they can afford. They can't just move

  Nebraska law prohibits certain sex offenders from living within 500 feet of schools and day cares. But places like Lake
  Village, which sits just off of U.S. Highway 20 next to a summer camp for teens, aren't included. Because she said she
  heard many residents' desires to get rid of the offenders, Squires said she attended a meeting with the mobile home
  court's owner, Curtis Rust of Sioux Falls, and Dakota County Attorney Ed Matney to discuss their options.

  Equal opportunity housing laws don't protect the rights of those with a criminal history, Matney said. Even though most
  of the offenders owned the trailers they lived in, Matney said all residents pay lot rent to live in the court and could
  therefore be told to leave with 30 days notice. After that meeting, Squires said Rust decided to evict all of the sex
  offenders from the mobile home court and, on Nov. 1, sent Dakota County Sheriff's deputies to inform them they had                                          Page 1 of 3
Sioux City Journal: Mobile home court evicts sex offenders                                                                     01/08/2007 02:17 PM

  until last Friday to move out.

  Squires said she is glad that he was willing to listen to his residents' concerns.

  "It's something we all don't want to happen," she said of the possibility that a child could have been hurt. "The memory
  they force on a child is almost unforgivable."

  No other mobile home court or other rental property in the area has had to face a problem of that magnitude, Squires
  said. Now that the situation at Lake Village has been taken care of, Squires said the Watchful Eye Foundation is focusing
  on more residency restrictions for those sex offenders whose victims were children.

  "I'm not done stirring the pot. I think the more pressure you put on senators and governors who make these laws, the
  more apt things are to change," she said. "Unless we come up with some huge plan to educate everyone (on how to
  protect themselves), it's going to be a problem."

  How did they get there?

  Why were so many sex offenders allowed to move into Lake Village in the first place if policies can be created to keep
  them out? And does this eviction notice mean no more sex offenders can move into Lake Village?

  The answers to those questions aren't clear. Rust refused to be interviewed for this article, but Squires said he told her
  he was not aware the offenders were there before their meeting. Numerous phone messages left for mobile home court
  manager Bill Yates were never returned, and his wife Nancy Yates threatened to call sheriff's deputies to remove
  Journal reporters who requested an interview in person at their mobile home.

  "I don't want to point fingers at anyone," Squires said. "But the managers of properties should know who is living
  there. It's their job to do background checks."

  Officials from the Nebraska and Iowa sex offender registries agreed that if landlords don't want to have sex offenders
  living on their properties, they should have such policies established before they begin accepting rental applications.

  "We advise them that they should meet with their attorneys if a situation like the one (at Lake Village) comes to their
  attention," said Gordon Miller, Iowa Department of Public Safety public service executive. "They can do background
  checks to ensure it doesn't happen."

  'They say we'll never change'

  On the day before his eviction from Lake Village, Leonard (not his real name) spent a good portion of the day packing
  his clothing in boxes and loading up a small motor home that will transport the contents of his mobile home to a new
  apartment in South Sioux City. Convicted in November 2000 of lascivious acts with a female family member under the
  age of 14 and other victims, he was released in April after spending about five years in prison and treatment and
  deemed at high risk to reoffend.

  The 50-year-old said that when he was released, he didn't have much money and it has been hard for him to find jobs
  with the combination of his criminal history and having knee problems. A friend helped him out for a bit, but he said
  Lake Village was one of the few places he found where he could both legally and financially afford to live. He had only
  been living at the trailer park for three months when a sheriff's deputy handed him an eviction notice.

  "You feel hurt, but I guess it's understandable. There aren't too many places where people feel comfortable with you
  around," Leonard said while sweeping crumbs from his kitchen's cracked linoleum. "We're looked at as monsters. Many
  think of us as subhuman -- who cares what happens to them as long as they stay away from my family? They say we'll
  never change."

  Although he admits he never completed his treatment, he said he feels the two and a half years he spent there did a lot
  to reform his life. A big part of that has been to focus on having empathy for others and avoiding any situations where
  he may come into contact with children, he said. He said he has also been going to a church outside of South Sioux
  City and growing in his Christian faith.

  "If there was any way to make amends with the family I hurt, I would, but there's no way," Leonard said, holding back
  tears. "I knew what I was doing at the time, but I wasn't thinking about what my victims felt ... A person can grow
  empathy, recovery can be made. I believe that if we have a decent heart in us and we are trying to be a good person,
  there will be no reoffense."

  Now, he said, he just wants to be able to live somewhere where he can keep to himself and work on putting his life
  back together. Being evicted didn't exactly help.                                       Page 2 of 3
Sioux City Journal: Mobile home court evicts sex offenders                                                                     01/08/2007 02:17 PM

  "It's said we move around a lot, and maybe it's because of things like this," Leonard said. "I would just ask for a little
  bit of empathy on their part. To do things to totally disarrange our lives makes us more apt to reoffend -- that's also
  something we learn in treatment."

  Contact Journal reporter Alicia Ebaugh at (712) 293-4219 or

    Read Comments >

  nemo wrote on December 11, 2006 9:05 AM:
     "Hounding RSOs like this will only cause them to vanish from the radar. Your children's safety will plummet. The
     more RSOs get pestered and hounded the sooner they will crack and decide to act on the image they have. "

  nemo wrote on December 11, 2006 9:01 AM:
     "Why doesn't every normal person just pick a name from the SOR, travel to the RSO and shoot it? Isn't vigilantism
     a virtue held high in the US? This way people can clean up the registry and can the haters that have shot the RSOs
     be convicted for premeditated murder. Send the haters to a state where they can get the deathpenalty and gas
     them. It's a simple solution to a big problem. Even the overpopulation will be countered."

  Bobby2 wrote on December 06, 2006 4:17 PM:
     "They are mobile homes, the sickos could have moved them to another court or on some farmland. They aren't out
     any money, they could have taken their homes with them. They moved without a fight, must be a guilty conscious.

  Bobby wrote on December 06, 2006 4:07 PM:
     "Maxfield, those trailers are only valued at a few hundred dollars, most can be snapped up on delinquent taxes for
     $10-50 dollars. Big profit there."

  Tony wrote on December 06, 2006 3:40 AM:
     "Most people are screaming "crucify them." I know of some people - ordinary citizens, politicians, ministers, police
     officers, teachers, parents, do-gooders; righteous people of all kinds; activists – who used to shout like that but it
     ended up they had done more horrible things. Hypocrites shout the loudest. You may say that you haven't
     committed this kind of offense. Are you really sure? Do you know all the laws that have put people on the registry?
     What about high school? There are many 17-year-olds convicted of messing with 15-year-olds several years back,
     and they went to jail and have now ended up on the registry for life. There’s one who later married his then under-
     age sweetheart after he served his time in jail. They've had children together, but he is still on registry – as a
     “monster” and he can't live near the schools his kids attend, or the church he takes his family to, decades after his
     crime. Sure, many offenses were against 7-year-olds - and that's horrible. But 95% of those offenses are actually
     committed by daddies, step dads, uncles and family friends - and not the monsters next door. WAKE UP PEOPLE!"

  Maxfield wrote on December 06, 2006 12:17 AM:
     "If these men are the owners of their trailers and the park allowed them to buy said trailers and is now kicking
     them out, they should be refunded the price of the trailers, not lose their total investment. The park owner will get
     the trailers when the former owners default on the rent and will them sell them again. No wonder he was so quick
     to evict. "

  Phelan Great wrote on December 05, 2006 11:52 PM:
     "Child predators are hardwired for life. They have desires for only children period. Do you think that if you went
     through 2 years of therapy that your your sexual preference could be changed to young children from the normal
     adult heterosexual relationships ? I don't think so. That's why child predators are the most dangerous types. You
     can't tell by looking at someone if they are a child molester. They look just like anyone else, except they know how
     to manipulate and groom not only the children but the families of. Longer sentences, rehab in prison or mental
     health facility, and placement into commercial area's is the best place to locate them for now. It's really a Federal
     issue but no one in Washington wants to deal with it. Been there done that !!!!!!!!!"

  h wrote on December 05, 2006 11:27 PM:
     "Ive been in the same situation and my life is not the same anymore I already paid the price of it and sorry for
     what i done"

  I Have The Answer! wrote on December 05, 2006 7:22 PM:
     "Send them to the showers. It's worked before."

  Ed wrote on December 05, 2006 5:19 PM:
     "Move them next to cops, County Attorney's and the lady stirring all this up, so they can watch them 24/7 and keep
     the town safe and informed about all they do."

  A female wrote on December 05, 2006 5:13 PM:
      "I was one of those people that was offended 25 years ago & still to this day watch over my back!!!"

  Robert wrote on December 05, 2006 4:05 PM:
     "Move these people into South Ridge or Regency Court if they're so safe. Just because people live in a trailer park
     doesn't make tham second class citizens. "                                       Page 3 of 3

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