The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Monday, December 10, 2007

From Megan's Law to murder...

If you listen long enough, you're likely to hear someone complain about sex offender registries. How they aren't fair, they punish those who have already served their time, how blah blah blah...

Now, I'll be the first one to tell you that I support sexual offender registries, that I fully believe that the benefit of the registry outweighs any rights that some sicko believes he's (or she) has had taken away from them. That being said, I'm not blind to some of the problems that the registry creates. I don't quiet give a big damn about most of them either... but I do see the problems.

Outdated registries... they give a false sense of security to those who have grown to depend on them. If we are going to have them, then they need to be updated and usable. Which also brings another issue in- I don't care how great you think your local SOR is managed... just because some website tells you that there is no offender living on your block- you can't just close your eyes and allow your child to wonder for hours on end without supervision. We, as parents are ultimately responsible for protecting our children, expecting the state to do it for us is senseless and irresponsible.

I've also got some issues with just who is listed.. who is put into what category. Look, to be honest- levels are senseless. Just because the state head shrink thinks someone is low risk doesn't make them 100% low risk.

And then, well you have the offense listings. "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force"... doesn't tell me if someone has sexually abused a child under 14, or if they assaulted an adult by force. There is a world of difference between a child molester, and your average rapist. Grouping them together is just bad management. And, sadly it seems to have lead to a gruesome crime.

Convicted rapist Michael A. Dodele had been free just 35 days when sheriff's deputies found him dead last month in his aging, tan mobile home, his chest and left side punctured with stab wounds.

Officers quickly arrested Dodele's neighbor, 29-year-old construction worker Ivan Garcia Oliver, who made "incriminating comments, essentially admitting to his attacking Dodele," the Lake County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

The article goes on to say that Oliver had a son who had previously been molested (cases not related in any way) and upon finding Dodele's name on the registry, he assumed that it was because he'd molested a child- an interview from jail that Oliver gave gives a peek into his thoughts at the time:

"Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of 'normal' people," Oliver said. "I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It's no different."

Although Oliver did not say he killed Dodele, he said that "any father in my position, with moral, home, family values, wouldn't have done any different. At the end of the day, what are we as parents? Protectors, caregivers, nurturers."

The problem? Dodele wasn't a child molester. He was however one of the many who had that poor descriptive listing "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force" under his name.

Now, nothing excuses the behavior of Dodele- he certainly had earned his position on the SOR, and most certainly was a sexual predator... but he wasn't a child molester, and had Oliver known that- Oliver might not be sitting in jail tonight.

A neighbor at the Western Hills Resort & Trailer Park, a tattered collection of mobile homes and bungalows, said that two days before the killing, Oliver "told every house" in the park that he'd found Dodele listed on the website of convicted sexual offenders and was uncomfortable living near him.

"He looked it up on the computer . . . ," the neighbor said. "He said [Dodele] can't be around here."

The park resident requested anonymity because of a fear of reprisal, but reported Oliver's visit and statements to sheriff's deputies after the slaying. "A lot of people told them" about Oliver's claims, the person said.

The case is still being investigated, and currently it seems that local LE is wary on giving possible motives- but with the interview, and the statements provided from neighbors, it seems that there is a chance the motive will be interwoven with Megan's Law.

Like I said, I support the registries... and I believe there is a clear need for them- but I also believe they currently have a lot of room for improvement- including giving factually correct descriptions of the charges... it can't be that hard to tell us whether the perp is on there because he raped a child, or because he flashed a grandmother walking down the street.