The New Neighbor Who I’m Not So Crazy About


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Image Source: Sweet Clip Art

A neighbor clued me into the fact that there’s a registered sex offender living on our street.  He moved here, sometime in the fall, into a smaller house on the edge of the subdivision.

I went online to the Sex Offender Registry to find out what he’d done, what he looked like and his exact street address.  The information about his crimes was complete.  There were two photos of him, one taken years ago and one more recent photo.  Then Z-D & I drove up and down the street until we located his house.

• • •

I have mixed feeling about this development.  On the one hand, he has served his time and is doing exactly what the law requires him to do by registering.  Perhaps there’s been some therapy along the way?  He might be contrite, reformed.

But on the other hand I’m judgmental enough to not trust a 30-something, college-educated male who solicited minors online and got caught by the police when he showed up for the meeting.  There’s something morally wrong with this scenario that I’m not sure I can overlook.

• • •

Thinking about it all, my negative attitude might be a bigger indictment of my inability to forgive than it is an accusation against him.  Clearly, I haven’t yet figured out how to process this information, as this is the first time, to my knowledge, that I’ve lived near a registered sex offender.

I’ll let you know if/when I shift into a more forgiving point-of-view, but in the mean time, I think that I’ll just keep my distance from that end of the street.  There are plenty of other directions I can walk around here.  No need to tempt fate with an accidental meeting.

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Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

22 thoughts on “The New Neighbor Who I’m Not So Crazy About”

  1. I’m with you. I don’t think a sex offender is ever “rehabilitated”. That’s just something that is inexcusable. I would be very nervous if I had kids and lived close to him. It’s just creepy!

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    1. Beth, I know what you mean. Rationally I can forgive him, but emotionally I have a difficult time understanding why this happened in the first place. There’s just something “off” with that behavior.

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  2. Just playing devil’s advocate here but there is no murderer’s registry. There could be a murderer who served his time living in the same neighborhood but you wouldn’t know therefore wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. Having said that, I’m not sure how I would feel either. The good news (if there is any) is that he didn’t snatch kids off the street.

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    1. kate, you are so right. Never, ever thought of that. This is just a weird situation to find myself in… don’t know what to make of it… not really a prob, but kind of disconcerting.

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  3. Sigh. What a perfect instance in which to quote Thomas Grey: “Ignorance is bliss.” Easy for me to say as an Empty Nester, but I’m sure that all kinds of Seedy Characters live around me. I’m happier not knowing as long as they don’t intersect with me and mine. Perhaps I’ve developed a sort of cockeye after having worked in an inner city school. I was often taken completely by surprise when I heard that a certain student had served time in juvie, or that one student was recently in jail, or that, later, a favourite student was convicted of murder. (That one still breaks me in half.) Not so much a “love the sinner, hate the sin” sort of thing, but the kid I taught was always vastly different than the kid on the street.

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    1. nance, you said it. I don’t think that I’ll be spending nights fretting over this, but it did take me by surprise. Don’t know why really. It’s not like I have a high opinion of the human race! Kind of makes me wonder who else with a criminal background is around here, ‘ya know?

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    1. Andra, I know. It’s not like I feel threatened. I suppose, when I get down to it, there is nothing much I can do except be aware– & wonder what goes on in the mind of someone like this.

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  4. I have mixed feelings and I’ve spent the day (well not every minute) thinking about this. Probably you’ve lived near sex offenders before and you didn’t know about it. Most, after all, are never caught. Then there’s the thing about the registry. They don’t tend to give a lot of details – perhaps your state’s does – but I’ve known young men who got charged with statutory rape when they were 19 and their girlfriend was 16 and that will stay on the registry the rest of their lives. I also have a very dear friend who was convicted of something I believe he did not do, it’s a long and involved story but if he were ever released from prison, he would have to register. In other words, it’s not a perfect system.

    On the other hand, when I was a practicing therapist I never felt able to work with sex offenders. I specialized for many years in the treatment of victims, as a matter of fact. There are some that say you need work with both but I never felt able to let go of my anger toward offenders. As much as I would like to think that sex offenders can be rehabilitated, I believe most really can only learn to live with their impulses and at best not act on them. You don’t really want, by the way, to know what goes on in their minds.

    I can’t and wouldn’t blame you or your neighbors for avoiding this person. I would hate to hear that people are being actively aggressive toward him, either. I have to imagine that no matter how well deserved, living on the registry is a hard thing for anyone.

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    1. Zazzy, fascinating comment. You might be the only person I know who has some personal, practical experience with a person who has committed this sort of crime.

      From what I can tell, no one in this polite neighborhood is currently being aggressive towards this man, BUT this subdivision is filled with families w/ kids and empty nesters who stay/retire here. Meaning that I suspect that this guy is not going to catch a break around here. And maybe that’s exactly what he needs– an environment where he is constantly watched.

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  5. Zazzy is right on. We have lived and are living around people who have done all sorts of “stuff.” Or could potentially do them in the future which is difficult, if not impossible to predict. My close friend in high school was sexually abused by her brother, a friend’s children were molested by a stranger, a friend’s mother was murdered by her boyfriend– among numerous other similar situations but we didn’t have the access to information that we do now. A mixed blessing, I think.

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    1. Margaret, interesting insight into this situation. Agree about the “mixed blessing” aspect of it.

      I realize that there’s lots of perversion and violence in the world, so I suppose that it makes sense that a bit of it should be right down the street. But that doesn’t mean that I have to like it. *snarl*

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  6. I get an email every time a registered sex offender moves within 10 miles of my house. I’m glad to get it, although on the rare occasion I get the email, it’s always a jolt to the senses.
    There isn’t anything I can *do* about the sex offender in my neighborhood except that when my girls get old enough to walk to the store, I may not let them depending on who is living on the street at the time.
    I certainly think it’s a good idea for sexual offenders to have to register since statistics show that those who assault children (as in, kids under 14) are likely to reoffend. I’d love to see domestic abusers and murderers be required to register too.

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    1. Stephanie, I like what you’re saying here. Didn’t know that it was even possible [anywhere] to get an informative email like you do. And I agree, I’d like to see those other two categories of offenders forced to register, too. Suppose that it’ll ever happen?

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  7. Change is incredibly hard for anyone to undertake. Just because he was caught and punished does not mean he himself judged his actions as wrong and actually took the painful steps necessary to change himself. So being leery makes sense.

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    1. Kourtney, you’ve described it perfectly. I have no way of knowing if he is sincere, so I’m going to keep my distance– which won’t be at all difficult considering the proximity of our houses. Still, I worry about those families with kids who live nearer to him…

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  8. The situation reminds me of a book (turned into an excellent film with Kate Winslet), “Little Children”, by Tom Perotta. The main storyline is unrelated, but there is a secondary storyline about a sex offender in the neighborhood, and how he is tortured by his desires, how he is rejected and treated by the neighbors, how he does not wish to offend again, but fears that he might. Not really someone you want living close by, to be sure…but on the other hand, where is he to live? We all have to live somewhere. It’s interesting how we perhaps feel one way when it’s in the paper, and another when it’s on your block.

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    1. J, I think that you’ve gotten to the essence of this situation. I don’t know that I’ll ever trust the guy even if he never does one thing wrong again. Obviously he has chosen this street as his home and I have to accept that fact. Even if I don’t like it.

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