Megan’s law does not limit where a registered sex offender can live once he or she has completed parole or parole – and that includes near schools and day care centers.
HARRISBURG, PA. – Most registered sex offenders have the right to live near a school or daycare center – and so do many. FOX43 Shows how often it happens and what protective measures are in place to stop repeat offenders.
Every month, the daycare supervisor Karla Rivero receives a new series of mug shots of registered sex offenders living near her work: the Busy Bees Child Care Center in Lancaster.
“If I could tell you how many papers we got in a month, it would be ridiculous,” said Rivero.
Megan’s law does not limit where a registered sex offender can live once he or she has completed parole or parole, including near daycare or schools.
“It’s definitely uncomfortable and very alarming just because we can’t control it,” added Rivero. “We have no way of fighting against it.”
FOX43 reveals that 25 registered sex offenders live within half a mile of Busy Bees Child Care and 76 live within a mile of the center. Daycare centers like Rivero wanted better protection for their facilities.
“There are people who change. I am not saying that it is not possible, but we do know that there are people who relapse and are able to commit this crime again. So we definitely want to know more information than a picture and how many miles they are, ”said Rivero.
In February, Harrisburg-based Shymar Mcbride was accused of raping a young girl. The 43-year-old had been on the register of sex offenders since 2007 after being convicted of involuntary deviant sex in 2002.
Also earlier this year, Manor Township’s Paul Woolery was charged with sexually assaulting a child in a house one block from where he lived. The 50-year-old Lancaster County man had been registered as a sex offender in Pennsylvania since 2013 following a previous sexual abuse conviction in 2000.
Some people argue that these cases are outliers.
Childcare workers say they feel unprotected under current law that allows registered sex offenders to live near schools and day care centers. # FOX43 Indicates which protective measures are in place to stop repeat offenders. MORNING at 10:00 p.m. @ fox43 pic.twitter.com/BCKGQfJZbs
– Rachel Yonkunas (@RachelYonkunas) May 1, 2021
“When [people] If you listen to registered sex offenders, they won’t hear anything else, ”said Vicki Henry, president of Women Against Registry (WAR).
WAR is working to abolish the sex offender registers and remove the stigma they believe is a misunderstood subset of society. Henry said many people are on the register for low risk, nonviolent crime and often don’t get the kind of help they need.
For Henry this fight is personal. Her son was convicted of possession of child pornography while serving in the overseas military. A psychologist found that he had been sexually abused by his father as a child during weekend and summer visits, Henry said. She is now fighting to secure a way back into society for those convicted of sex crimes.
“Some of the reasons people fail is because we put so many roadblocks in their way. People need three things to be successful. They need a job, an apartment and a positive support system, ”said Henry.
The U.S. Department of Justice said recidivism rates for sex crimes are generally lower than for general offenses, ranging from five percent after three years to 24 percent after 15 years. However, DOJ officials acknowledge that many crimes are often unreported, saying that there are different rates of recidivism for different types of offenders.
Jim Willshier of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) believes that education and awareness can be more effective than any law.
Rachel Yonkunas: Are there enough protective measures to prevent repeat offenders?
Jim Willshier: That’s hard to answer. I don’t know if Megan’s law can do this on its own.
PCAR works to end sexual violence and advocates the rights and needs of all victims of sexual assault. The organization works with a network of rape crisis programs to bring help, hope and healing to issues of sexual violence to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and beyond. PCAR has developed a program called Safe Secure Kids to help families start conversations about preventing and detecting child sexual abuse.
“The more we talk about it, not to normalize behavior, but to normalize the conversation that we can play and work together to make the community safer, especially for the good of the children and for the support of all survivors, the best that you can can do, ”said Willshier.
Rivero believes that she can only educate and communicate with families and their children about respect and consent to prevent sexual abuse and harassment. They and other daycare centers will continue to raise the alarm until they feel heard.
“It’s not being talked about enough so I’m glad you guys are actually doing this because there are a lot of people out here who don’t know, so it’s scary,” said Rivero.
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