This is not a post I want to do. No, I take that back, I want to do this because if I didn't and looked the other way I couldn't live with myself.
Today my husband Chuck was at work Life guarding on our city beach. He called me and asked if I remembered a man from a few years ago? His description rang a bell right away.
"Well" said my husband, " I think he's back".
This man is a convicted Sex Offender. He'd been arrested on our beach and as far as we knew, we'd seen the last of him.
Chuck told me he was keeping an eye on him. And he did. But then, he got up and swam out to one of the floats that the City puts out every summer for recreation. They are popular with kids who love to swim out and sit on them.
Chuck watched him in his binoculars, but he had to keep his eyes on his part of the beach also so he had to look away for brief moments. Then he saw a group of 9 or 10 little girls swam out. When this happened the man got up and sat in the middle of them, watching their every move. So Chuck called the Police.
When the Police arrived they took down all the information on the guy and went back to check him out, running a check on his license plate.
It was him. In the meantime it had been going on three hours that he had been on that float staring at all the many children coming and going. Chuck asked what they could do. He was told nothing. His probation is over. So the Law can't do anything until he does something again.
Do you see the error of this? Chuck was outraged. He said he wanted to get on the bullhorn and shout to all the parents on the beach, " There is a convicted Sex Offender!" and point him out. But he couldn't.
In the State of California there is Meagan's law:
Megan's Law is an informal name for laws in the United States requiring law enforcement authorities to make information available to the public regarding registered sex offenders. Individual states decide what information will be made available and how it should be disseminated. Commonly included information includes the offender's name, picture, address, incarceration date, and nature of crime. The information is often displayed on free public websites, but can be published in newspapers, distributed in pamphlets, or through various other means.
Megan's Law provides two major information services to the public: sex offender registration and community notification.
Effectiveness of Megan's Law
A December 2008 study by Kristen Zgoba Ph.D., Philip Witt Ph.D., Melissa Dalessandro M.S.W., and Bonita Veysey Ph.D. found that Megan’s Law has no effect on community tenure (i.e., time to first re-arrest), showed no demonstrable effect in reducing sexual re-offenses, has no effect on the type of sexual re-offense or first time sexual offense (still largely child molestation/incest), and has no effect on reducing the number of victims involved in sexual offenses. Wikipedia
What this means is WE, the parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, guardians, we are responsible for our children's safety. Megan's Law only tells us that an offender lives on our street. And that would be information any parent would want to be aware of yes. But what about when your in a public place like the beach today? Would you be ok with some strange man sitting near your child? watching them? Do you know the difference between a kind person and someone who commits heinous crimes?
Parents, right now I am speaking strictly from my husbands point of view. He felt helpless today and he told me that if even one parent came up to his tower and asked about that strange man out there on the float, he would have told them. He would have said what he knew. The police didn't say he couldn't do that. But nobody came. Not one person. I know if I were healthy, I would have swam out there and acted like one of the Mom's. I would have let this man know that I am watching him.
It is summertime here in the Western Hemisphere, there are crowds everywhere, at our beach's, parks, most public places. Please, for the sake of your child,
at all times, BE AWARE.
p.s. Tommorrow I will go back to the joyful celebrating of the new babies that just arrived, Angela's new granddaughter, Miranda's first child, but for today I had to say this very important message. We have to keep the children safe.
Thank you for reading.