In the midst of a housewarming party held last weekend, my roommates and I were chagrined to learn that we now reside across the alley from a registered sex offender. Unsure quite what to do with this news, a bacchic reveler lurched past us and shouted, “You’d better hope he was arrested for attacking children, then!”
Obviously we weren’t hoping to acquire a pedophilic neighbor, but the point was that we, being University seniors, would probably fly under the radar of someone whose tastes ran to the much younger set. We dismissed the assertion as crass and moved on.
Curious investigation revealed that our new neighbor’s crimes aren’t listed by the Washington State Sex Offender Information Center (WSSOIC) so we can’t guess his preferred age-range, but he’s just 1 of twenty-three level II and III registered sex offenders living in the U-District alone.
Sex offenders in the U-District have been in the spotlight lately, since Governor Christine Gregoire and UW President Mark Emmert began their campaign to relocate 13 sex offenders from the Greek system. It turns out that the Department of Corrections actually does try to refrain from placing offenders with convictions against young men and women in the U-District – opting instead for pedophiles and felons arrested for assaulting young children, who should, theoretically, have no interest in UW students.
That’s all well and good for the UW students living north of campus, but what about the more than 30 schools (preschool through grade 12) and daycares in the same zip code?