Archive for Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Proposal could send sex offenders outside the Lawrence city limits

November 1, 2005


— Some sex offenders in Kansas might be forced to leave their city homes for rural areas, under a proposal offered by House Speaker Doug Mays.

Mays, R-Topeka, wants to prohibit people convicted of sex crimes involving children from living within 2,500 feet - nearly one-half mile - of schools and day care centers.

In Lawrence, that would put much of the city off-limits to convicted child molesters: the city has 22 public schools, a handful of private schools and more than 100 licensed and registered day care centers.

"There's not going to be much space," said Tom Bracciano, Lawrence school district director of facilities and operation. "If there's not a day care center at Alvamar, maybe there."

There are 36 men who have been convicted of sex crimes involving children living in Lawrence, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation's sex offender registry.

Mays' bill would be retroactive, forcing offenders already living in the protective zones to move.

If other cities in Kansas are similar to Lawrence, that could mean hundreds, if not thousands, of sex offenders statewide would have to leave towns and cities for places to live, mostly in rural areas. There are approximately 4,000 registered offenders, with about two-thirds of them convicted of crimes involving children.

"I will do anything legally possible to change whatever law is necessary to protect the kids of this state from child molesters," Mays, a Republican candidate for governor, said when introducing his proposal last week.

"I don't feel a bit guilty if I make it harder for them to find a place to live," he said.

His spokesperson, Rachelle Colombo, said for the public's safety and for the released offender, it is best to keep the offenders and children as far apart as possible.

She said as Mays' bill goes through the process of being worked on by a committee, there will be more information available about how other states have managed to prevent sex offenders from living near areas where children are present.

Douglas County Commissioner Jere McElhaney, who represents much of rural Douglas County, said he supported Mays' proposal.

"We have to put them somewhere," McElhaney said. "Mays is wanting to take a pro-active approach."

But, he said, he hoped legislators would take into account that rural areas are often less-policed than urban areas.

He said the Legislature should adopt longer sentences for sex offenders. Mays' proposal would increase sentences for sex offenders who fail to register with local authorities, or who provide a wrong address.

Mays has also said the Legislature should look at tougher sentencing of sex offenders.


trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 4 months ago

that would be great. then my daughter, might not be so scared .to go out around the block.and have to see her affender drive pass her, and smile its like he is say watch out her i am again.... hello lock them up for good. throw away the keys.........protect are children.

average 12 years, 4 months ago

And since every evil-evil-man is registered, and none of them will ever come to the city again to work or buy groceries, we can dress our children up in sailor suits and they can skip across town with lollipops! Yay!

kjgs 12 years, 4 months ago

Maybe they could just buy an Island and send them all there.

costello 12 years, 4 months ago

And what about those of us who live in the country with kids?

staff04 12 years, 4 months ago

I like the idea of getting rid of them, but I have my doubts that this one is constitutional...

Jamesaust 12 years, 4 months ago

LJW - please clarify this point again ---

Douglas County Commissioner Jere McElhaney ("We have to put them somewhere.") favors exporting Lawrence's sex offenders to rural Douglas County?

Janet Lowther 12 years, 4 months ago

Cities should be required to keep the filth they breed: Offenders should be required to return from whence they came. Maybe then police would pay more attention to crimes against persons and property instead of wasting their time enforcing laws against victimless crimes.

Todd 12 years, 4 months ago

This proposal is wrong. It won't stop children from getting hurt. It's just another punishment being lobbed at the ex-cons. It's not right to harrass people that have served their time.

If folks think the penalties for harming children should be stricter then change that law and enforce it. Don't add little harrassing BS like this after the fact. From Sunday's paper... Think about how to teach parents and kids to better communicate and you can actually prevent children from getting harmed. Prevention should be the focus.

concerned_citizen 12 years, 4 months ago

MacElhaney's idea makes running out of gas or breaking down on a lonely country road that much more interesting. Nothing in them hills but farmers, meth labs and perverts! You'll think twice about going up to that lonely farmhouse to ask to use the phone!

Anyway, the whole idea of that bill is unconstitutional. It'll never stand a lawsuit. If someone never sues, though...

My question is this - why Douglas county? Why not give them a bus ticket and a hundred bucks and send them to Topeka...or Denver...or heck, why not Mexico? Or Canada? The idea that out of sight/out of mind answers are somehow the right ones is silly. It'll probably get Mays some votes from the sex predator chicken little's out there, which may be all that he wants.

I think that for the price of buying an island to send them to (along with other undesirables) we should invest in research to find out what works be it good ol' Clockwork Orange BF Skinner therapy, permanent incarceration or hug-a-thug. Shipping them from place to place like that garbage barge from New Jersey that never found a home isn't an answer.

wlpywd 12 years, 4 months ago

i thought statistically speaking, the ratio of child abuse and sex offenders was already a lot higher for rural communities than others....

kujeeper 12 years, 4 months ago

This is what should be done, protect the kids!

Spencer71 12 years, 4 months ago

If this law were to pass, how difficult would it be to kick out all criminals out of town. How about taking away the cars of speeders, that would protect more then just kids. If the courts say it is okay for an offender to live (registered) in town then that should be good enough. The public should be pushing for stronger sentences for offenders not this sort of nonsence.

Godot 12 years, 4 months ago

So, how would this be enforced? Will there be a "perverted perp police patrol" following these guys and gals around?

I agree with whoever it was that said, if you don't like the punishment for sex offenders, change the law; don't harrass people who have already done their time.

By the way, landlords have the right (some would say it is a responsibility) to do a criminal background check on potential tenants. I want to know who out there feels comfortable renting to a registered sex offender!

Eat_Local 12 years, 4 months ago

Speaking as a person who lives in rural Kansas (America) I have to say this scares me - because we are not patroled AT ALL, don't you think this makes it easier to grab a child and hide them out in the country due to lack of CLOSE neighbors? Or for the kids that get home from the bus before the parents - there's no one RIGHT next door to call for help. Granted we chose to live where people are not very close, but my kids deserve to be protected just as much as the kids in town. In town the chances are better that someone would see something that shouldn't be.

sunnysideup 12 years, 4 months ago

make a commune for these guys. so they can still live nice like they do in the neighborhoods with our children, but make a 15' wall for them and have them plant flowers on the inside of the wall for entertainment and let's forget about them forever...... and by the way, some of them don't serve time. they make a plea agreement and get off easy.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 4 months ago

This is poltical rhetoric as Mays runs for Governor. Don't forget he has a tax increase in mind behind this little scheme.

christie 12 years, 4 months ago

Todd: I suppose you have no children. If you do, then how about taking in all those molesters. After all, you say they've served their time, so they are obviously no threat.

Child Molesters are never cured or rehabilitated. They must be removed from society. I say this Politician isn't doing enough, he's obviously wanting to run for some higher office but doesn't have the foresight to do it right.

I say ban them from the State.

Todd 12 years, 4 months ago

christie, I do have children (2) and I agree with you. (child molesters are never cured and should be removed from society) But... I believe in rule of law. You don't knee jerk around the law just to get what you want.

Also, what about the future child molesters? How do excessive punishments, endless harassment, etc... prevent future sex crimes? There are sex offenders that aren't even born yet.

Even if the penalty for sex crimes was death we'd still have people committing those crimes. Harsh punishments aren't a deterrent. We need to prepare parents and children as best we can.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 4 months ago

Let all of the non-violent offenders out of prison,minimum custody,country club lock up's and county jails whether they be pot smokers or parents failing to pay child support...then there is room without the Mays tax increase proposal.

Jere McElheney always says no to tax increases until Mays is supporting one. What do these two have against paying teachers what they are worth, providing school supplies so teachers don't have to buy them and educating children?

Steve Jacob 12 years, 4 months ago

There is no easy answer of what to do with sex-offenders. Most made their mistake, went to prision, and followed the laws afterward. Most where not even vilent offenders.

And how many murders do we have in town? Manslaughter, 2nd degree? People who serve under 10 years in jail? No list on those people.

Just no good answers.

momof3 12 years, 4 months ago

Kansas does not have a law preventing sex offenders from living next to a school. That part of the law should stay. I don't know about sending them to live in the country, because it is still dangerous for those folks living out there.
But I think limiting where they CAN live in city limits is a good idea.

momof3 12 years, 4 months ago

If that does force sex offenders to live in the country, because cities , such as Lawrence, are filled with schools, and day care centers, then I do feel sorry for the country folks. We should have had Megan's Law invoked in Kansas when it was passed over 10 years ago.

Godot 12 years, 4 months ago

The solution is that the sex offenders should have to find a city that does not have children. Do not require them to stay in Kansas. Let them re-locate to Phoenix, Las Vegas, Sun City, and the like. Better yet, give them a plane ticket to New Orleans. There aren't many schools left there.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, this is just another grandstanding politician proposing a simplistic and headline-generating idea for the newspapers to splash over their headlines. So what if this does become law. How about the people who live 2510 feet from a school? What about them? This problem has been with us for years and will not go away. The real solution is education, both for the parents and the childern. By the way, when was the last time in Lawrence a child was snached on the way to school? Anybody??? I don't remember seeing this problem. This newspaper reported a few weeks ago, in it's ongoing crusade to sell newspapers with as much coverage of this subject, that a young child was approached in a park by a person in a car. Did this person live 2500 feet from a school? Maybe he lived across town from the spot. Moving these people out of the vicinity of a school will solve nothing. Moving them out of their homes and into the street just means that there will be more of them on the street and they will not have an address to be registered to.

The point is, this is a stupid and headline generating idea, it will not make anyone safer, and the real tradgedy is that a lot of really stupid people will believe that they have accomplished something with this crass politician's grandstanding.

daniboy 12 years, 4 months ago

I am a sex offender. I would like to say that it is very nice of House Speaker Doug Mays to introduce legislation that would force sex offenders to find out where every school, daycare center and bus-stops are so they don't live near them. And the state is going to have to releas the information to anyone who asks for it. Otherwise they are allowing an offender to violate the law if it were to pass.

This is going to allow the offender who would otherwise not have an idea of where they are, know the locations. Now, if someone convicted of an offense wanted to go to one of those places to offend someone, well nothing in the law says they can't drive to a school, or walk the sidewalk in front of the school, go to the bus stop etc..

I think this law will actually make your children more of an easy target for the determined offender. By the way, if this law is passed I would still be able to purchase a house across the street from a school and I could spend all day there mowing the lawn, looking across the street at the playground and what ever I wanted to on the property that I would own. Then spend the other 18-hours of the day in my home in the country.

This law doesn't make anyone safe. To the citizens of the great state of Kansas, if you force the determined offender to find out where your children spend the day, or pick up the bus, well you will have to share the blame for the offender's behavior and for allowing a law like this to pass. Think beyond your feelings of hatred, and see what the laws really do. Good luck stopping this madness.

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