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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sex Offenders: Your Neighbors and School Volunteers

A neighborhood that is adjacent to the Bethany Public Schools has been emotionally rocked with the recent discovery of a sex offender who has been volunteering in their school and living in their midst as a friend and neighbor.

The registered sex offender’s past was discovered via a forwarded e-mail which consisted of an offender registration notice. The automated e-mail subscriber service was provided by The Safe Community Network (ScanUSA.com), which is a free online alert website.

There are currently over 5000 sex offenders in the state of Oklahoma. At the time of this article, 936 offenders are delinquent and in violation of the Sex Offenders Registration Act.

Oklahoma law does not allow registered sex offenders to reside within 2000 feet of a school unless they were already in residence at the time of conviction. Additionally, families, residents, schools, churches, nearby businesses, locations where children or potential victims may congregate, and other individuals of concern are not notified by authorities unless the offender is designated as an aggravated or habitual sex offender.

Oklahoma Senate Bill 440 provides for the release of sex offender registry information to the State Superintendent of Public Schools. The current superintendent, Sandy Garrett, has a posting on the Department of Education’s website which states:

“The information is now available within easy access of all educators, parents and community members who visit our Web site. Protecting children is an overriding concern for all of us. Access to current information is essential in ensuring each school staff person is thoroughly investigated prior to hiring or when there is suspicion of illegal or unethical behavior.”


According to the Oklahoma County Tax Assessor’s records, the Bethany sex offender in question was in possession of his current residence before his conviction date. However, the sex offender has volunteered many times, including overnight trips with band students, at the Bethany Public Schools.

Senate Bill 440 does not address the status of sex offenders that are parents of school aged children. Although, the bill does state the following:

“The Superintendent of Public Instruction is authorized to copy and distribute information from the sex offender registry to school districts and individual public and private schools within the state with a notice using the following or similar language: “A person whose name appears on this registry has been convicted of a sex offense. Continuing to employ a person whose name appears on this registry may result in civil liability for the employer or criminal prosecution pursuant to Section 589 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statutes."


Many policy making decisions are left up to the individual districts across the state. Should there be a standardized policy concerning background checks for volunteers within the state’s public school system?

According to familywatchdog.us, there are currently 12 other sex offenders that live within close proximity of the Bethany Public School Campus. Eight of them have convictions that involve children. Six live approximately ½ mile, or less, from the school property. The current 2000 feet distance requirement that registered sex offenders must keep from a school is just over 665 yards; 1/2 of a mile is 880 yards.

Within walking distance of the Bethany Public School properties are: the Southern Nazarene University campus and dorms, a private grade school, and church.

But this isn’t just the Bethany School District’s problem. Three square miles includes Bethany Public Schools, SNU, Putnam City High School, Central Middle School, Central Elementary School, Dolese Youth Park, Eldon Lyon Park, numerous churches and neighborhoods, and 36 registered sex offenders.

**Search the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Sex Offender Registry by name, address, city, or zip code.

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This article is also posted here.

later...

10 Comments:

Blogger Dreaming again said...

:*(

When I checked into the hospital, they gave me some preventative information for April awareness month from Call Rape.

When I checked out they gave me the information again.

I was talked to by a social worker about protection from the dangers ... and a lot of this information was given.

My only question is : what about protection from those who hurt .. when the person is known ...but never one to be suspected.

Like my sons science teacher at Union ...in Febrary ... too many times the first time offenders aren't the ones that are registered ...it's the ones we don't expect, but we know.

shutting up now before I say too much on someone elses blog.

April 12, 2006 10:31 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

TJ. Your posts make very frightening reading and bring home the dangers that are out there for our children. Here in the UK, the Sex Offenders Register isn't made public and there is a lot of debate about whether that is good or bad. It frightens me to know there may be sex offenders living right on my doorstep!

April 13, 2006 4:19 AM  
Anonymous Moof said...

TJ ... thank you for posting the difficult things. People just do not stop and think ...

April 13, 2006 8:44 AM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Hey Peggikaye...

Maybe there should be a phone call or two made. A letter written?

Let me know if I can help in any way.

Sue, I'm not real familiar with the government processes in England, but don't you have some form of representation there? Couldn't you write a letter or make a few telephone calls and get the Parliament to move on something like this?

I think that there is a real need here for all citizens.

My purpose for these kinds of posts aren't to strike fear in your hearts but to educate and make others aware of their world around them.

I also want to try to motivate others into becoming more "politically interested" and "politically active" within their communities.

Things like letter writing, telephone calls, and voting are so very important, and yet, so few will do it.


Hey Moof... What have you been up to? And thanks.

later...

April 13, 2006 10:35 AM  
Blogger Dreaming again said...

Tj ...have you heard about the big news up here? They opened an half way house in a neighborhood, with children, without notifying the neighborhood ... for sexual assult offenders ... will house up to 12 people ...
It's been all over our news for this week. If not for the missing doctor and the girl in Kansas, it would have been THE news story. I posted more about the April awareness month on my blog today.

April 13, 2006 11:01 AM  
Blogger Dreaming again said...

http://www.ktul.com/news/stories/0406/318009.html

April 13, 2006 11:20 AM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

No... I haven't heard anything about this here in the OKC area.

Do you see what I mean?

We have to be armed with our own information networks, because there aren't enough laws, or law enforcement, out there to protect us.

The bad thing about it is that this half-way house is probably following the law explicitly.

Thank goodness someone sent the neighbors a letter.

Thanks for the link!

later...

April 13, 2006 2:41 PM  
Blogger Dreaming again said...

These offenders are all offenders who have completed all their time, and none of which had offenses against children ... so, find a neighborhood where it is more appropriate. The people running it, and the government agencies are horrified that the neighborhood is up in arms ... HELLO ...you put it in without notification AND THEN YOU LIED and said it was an alcohol recovery! You expect them to TRUST you?

The public hearing is being held at my churches sister church ..which, I found rather interesting ... don't know why, just did. Man this has been a stressful week in this area!

April 13, 2006 5:27 PM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Blogger is down and I am unable to log on and post.

There is currently a real Amber Alert.

There is a 10 year old girl that has been abducted from Purcell, Oklahoma.

Jamie Rose Bolin

I'll try to post until I go to bed.

later...

April 13, 2006 9:36 PM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Blogger is down.

I can't post.

I haven't been able to post a comment either.

I am trying one more time.

There's an Amber Alert here in Oklahoma.

Jamie Rose Bolin

later...

April 13, 2006 9:45 PM  

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