03/05/2011: "LETTERS ON SEX OFFENDER MOVING TO SJI"
Islanders For Children is a non-profit organization that has been formed in response to the Washington State Department Of Corrections planned location of Level 3 Sex Offender, David F. Stewart, in our county. Islanders For Children is seeking donations to help with legal fees for a planned lawsuit against the Department of Corrections. Islanders for Children has a fund set up at Islanders Bank and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org more information is available at email@example.com
We are acting to protect our children from a Convicted Level 3 Sex Offender that admits to a 30 year history of sexually assaulting male and female victims as young as 1 year old to 15 years old. This man has no place in our rural isolated county. We cannot meet the terms of David F. Stewart's probation because there are NO Department of Corrections Staff in San Juan County, there are NO Treatment providers for this UNTREATED Sex Offender in San Juan County.
The Extreme Exposure to children in the proposed rural isolated neighborhood that has over 40 resident children under the age of 11, a bus soip, a Frisbee golf course, a daycare and a childcare cooperative all within sight of David F. Stewart's residence is grossly irresponsible. Police response time to San Juan Island's North End is 15 minutes at best. This placement by the Department of Corrections is unethical and designed to fail. Please join us in our fight to protect our island children by meeting for demonstrations, March 15th, 9:30 am at the courthouse and 5 pm at the Mullis Senior Center. Please wear RED and voice you concerns to the Department of Corrections regarding this dangerous child rapist.
Islanders for Children
I was dismayed at SJI's reaction to a level III former sex offender moving to SJI. As a mother of young children I too want to keep my children safe, but as researcher in this field I must tell you that shunning sex offenders is not only unethical, it is just plain ineffective. Surprisingly convicted sex offenders rarely repeat sex crimes. The US Department of Justice puts the chance for a repeat crime at only 5.3%. Also, most child sexual abuse happens in a child's own home by a relative, not a stranger down the street.
Last, all studies within the last decade show the registry simply does not work to deter sex crimes and that it is being used in a costly overextended manner. There are almost a million registered sex offenders in the US. One in every 220 men have been registered. Classifying offenders into tiers does not help because states are putting too many non-dangerous offenders in the highest tiers. Neighbors have no way to determine who is and who is not dangerous.
Marginalizing any felon leads to unemployment and homelessness not only for the offender, but for their family members as well. Please remember that the majority of sex offenders have children themselves and that when we banish the offender we banish their children.
It is time to dispel the stranger danger myth and instead educate ourselves on tell-tale signs of child-abuse.
San Juan Island
To the Editor:
Dear Ms. Aylward,
I just read the news article in the Island Guardian titled, "Sex Offender Likely to End Up on San Juan". I am writing to express my grave concern with the "likely" decision to place David Franklin Stewart on San Juan Island.
The proposed neighborhood of Bridle Estates is filled with children. The area is heavily wooded, and children routinely travel from house to house on wooded trails. The opportunity to interact with children is not only likely, but is likely inevitable. Department of Corrections (DOC) was given a platt map of the Bridle Estates that outlined the number of adjoining properties, detailing the number of children residing at each location. In addition, there is a daycare/childcare exchange operating less than 1000 feet from the proposed placement location. To blantanty disregard these facts is unconscionable.
You stated that offenders "tend to have less chance for recidivism, because the family is no longer around them". Wouldn't that beg the question, that the offender may be more likely to look outside the family for victims. By his own admission he has a 30 year history of sexually assaulting children. The following is a direct quote from the National Sex Offender Public Website http://www.nsopw.gov/Core/Conditions.aspx regarding David Franklin Stewart:
"According to official documents Stewart was found guilty by stipulated trial in Snohomish County Superior Court on 10/22/2003 of one count of Rape of a Child First Degree. He was sentenced to 90 months in prison. This conviction was the result of Stewart sexually assaulting three known male victims ages six to 12 years old during the time of the sexual assaults. Stewart provided the victims with candy and computer games to bribe them as part of the sexual assaults. Stewart has admitted to a 30 year history of sexually assaulting additional victims, both male and female from ages one to two years old to teenagers. He has also admitted to peeping and indecent exposure on several occasions since he was 18 years old. Stewart participated in sex offender treatment while in prison but was terminated from treatment for a lack of progress. "
I respectively ask you to reconsider the possible relocation of David Frankin Stewart to San Juan Island. However, in the event DOC does approve his relocation, I will avail myself of any and all legal recourse to prevent his placement.
Eugenia (Gigi) Zakula
San Juan Island
Business Owner and
Grandmother of three children living in Bridal Estates
To the Editor:
In response to the letter written by Joyce Stewart regarding her husband, David Franklin Stewart, a Level III Sex Offender:
It is important to understand how a sexual offender obtains his or her status. According to the WA State Department of Corrections levels I, II and III are defined as follows:
When a sexual offender is convicted he or she will obtain a level of status for their crimes. The level of status being I, II, or III.
Level I �" "Low risk of sexual re-offense within the community at large. Sheriffs’ departments share information about them with other law enforcement agencies and may disclose information to the public upon request."
Level II �" "Moderate risk of sexual re-offense within the community at large. The Sheriffs’ departments may share information about them with schools, child care centers, businesses, neighbors and community groups near their expected residence or places where they are regularly found."
Level III �" "High risk of sexual re-offense within the community at large. In addition to the type of disclosures made for Level 2 sex offenders, Sheriffs’ departments can provide information about them to the public at large."
During the incarceration period, the Offender can attend therapy programs offered by the institution of incarceration. The therapy programs are run by highly qualified and credited professionals. We need to remember that these programs are offered to offenders by government agencies to give them a fair opportunity to receive the help they require for successful rehabilitation.
At the conclusion of the sexual offenders incarceration, he or she receives what is called an "end of sentence review." This review is conducted by the End of Sentence Review Committee (ESRC). "The ESRC consists of the representatives of state and local agencies that release sex offenders; Department of Corrections, Department of Social and Health Services, local police or sheriff's departments, and the state Indeterminate Sentence Review Board." David Franklin Stewart's case was reviewed by the ESRC which then assigned him Level III status. This decision was not made solely by the department of correction, but was made by all of the named agencies above.
After the decision has been made and the offender petitions to reside in a County, it falls on that County Sheriff to raise or lower the status of the offender. It is very rare that the status is ever lowered. In most cases, the Sheriff of a County will increase that status to minimize the risk to his or her community members.
I hope this response has shed some light on the way in which our government system works to keep our communities and children safe.
San Juan Island
To the Editor:
To all of my neighbors who have voiced concerns about the arrival of a Level III Sex Offender named David Stewart, I make the following statements.
I am his wife and have read the notification sent out and put online by the authorities. I ask that you read my statements before rushing to judgment.
1. David was convicted in 2003 of a crime he committed in 1994. I do not minimize the seriousness of his crime but it was not against a member of the public. David has no previous criminal history and has never been accused, charged or convicted of any other crime.
2. Contrary public perception, David was rated as a Level I Sex Offender by Department of Corrections (DOC) End of Sentence Risk Committee using the standardized risk instrument developed by the State of Washington. This instrument measures the risk of who is at risk if he reoffends.
According to the Washington State Institute of Public Policy the risk of re-offense is exactly the same across all three levels and notification level is not an indicator of likelihood of re-offense. Level I carries no public notification as the general public is not considered to be at risk.
David has never offended against strangers nor formed relationships for the purpose of offending. He meets none of the criteria for a Level III classification.
The DOC chose to artificially raise David's level to Level III so that the general public would be notified. They stated in their Snohomish County notification this was due to fear of his reoffending based on his previous criminal history. A criminal record which does not exist. Through public disclosure documents we found the DOC has used information that is not accurate, nor verifiable, but rather a sexual history that does not exist at all.
We have appealed to the DOC to correct their information but to date they have not done so. Even using the fictional history which includes victims and ages that do not exist, the DOC was unable by objective means to achieve a rating for a level greater than Level I.
We have submitted a personal restraint petition with the Appellate Court asking that they direct the DOC to follow the law and use accurate, verified and confirmed information.
3. Contrary to the Snohomish County information, David was not terminated from Sex Offender treatment for failure to make progress.
Prior to being convicted David was in treatment for about 9 months with a respected certified treatment provider where he made good progress and was recommended for the alternative sentencing of six months work release.
On voluntarily entering the prison therapy system which consists of about 10-12 months of therapy we discovered that they did not use, nor did they have any requirement to use, certified providers.
As allowed by law we hired a private therapist with a PhD, 40 years counseling experience and 29 years as a certified sex offender provider. Even though they were aware that David was in private therapy, the prison immediately moved David to another facility, effectively blocking treatment.
We appealed but David was only able to have a few sessions with her. He was unable to complete his therapy in prison and will continue in therapy with an approved certified provider. He is committed to never reoffending.
I write this not to justify David's actions or to minimize his crime. I would like simply to put some truth to rumors that are circulating. I do not minimize the public's concern. However, DOC is aware that they are circulating information which is not accurate and inflammatory and which will in time be corrected and made accurate.
San Juan Island
To the Editor:
I agree with Janice Peterson's letter about David Stewart, a Level
III Sex Offender, who plans to move into our community. We don't need
or want him here. He's likely to re-offend. He wants to live in a
somewhat secluded neighborhood. Why tempt fate?
To the Editor:
(The following letter was sent to Department of Corrections Officer Rob Diekman radiekman@DOC1.WA.GOV , in reference to the recent announcement that a level 3 sex offender is scheduled to move to San Juan Island.)
Dear Officer Diekman:
I am writing to ask for your help in keeping David Franklin Stewart out of our community. Having received information about Mr. Stewart's criminal history from concerned San Juan Island parents and after looking further at published information from law enforcement agencies, I am amazed that the terms of his probation would allow him anywhere near San Juan County. Information available to the public and evidently undisputed includes the following:
He is a Level III sex offender convicted of raping a child.
Level III sex offenders are classified as "High risk to re-offend within the community at large. Relevant, accurate and necessary information concerning offenders classified as risk Level III may be disclosed to the public at large."
The public has been notified that David Stewart is planning to move to San Juan Island to a residential community with many children living in close proximity.
He has admitted a 30-year criminal history of assaulting children, both male and female, from ages one to two to teenagers.
While in prison, (and according to official documents) his enrollment in a program for sex offenders was terminated for lack of progress.
The terms of David Stewart's probation forbid him from contact with minors. He is required to find employment but not be employed in a capacity that would bring him into contact with minors.
To put a convicted child rapist with a 30-year history of assaulting children, and a demonstrable inability to complete a rehabilitative program for sex offenders, in our midst on a small island where children move freely around every part of our community is absurd. It would be virtually impossible for David Stewart to avoid contact with minors on the island even if he tried. His self-admitted decades of assaulting children and his inability or unwillingness to change more than suggests that he would not try.
Our children feel safe among their neighbors on San Juan Island. Allowing David Stewart to live among us would take their safety away and replace it with very real and justified fear. Those of us who are appalled at this prospect are not alarmists persecuting an innocent victim. We are looking at the brutal facts of Mr. Stewart's history.
Please do not allow David Stewart to take up residence on San Juan Island. I am attaching relevant information including expressions of deep concern from two parents whose children would be living 500 feet from him if he was allowed to move here.
San Juan Island