Northwest NEWS

February 4, 2002

Front Page

Lake Marcel residents protest sex offender

by Lisa Allen
   Valley View Editor
   LAKE MARCELčResidents of this quiet residential area say they are worried about the presence of a 14-year-old sex offender who has recently moved into the neighborhood.
   One resident, who was concerned enough to do some background checking, said she learned the youth was a "Level 2" sex offender on probation from Echo Glen, a youth correctional facility near North Bend.
   "One of the terms of his probation was that he was not supposed to be around anyone 24 months younger than himself," she said. "But he has been seen unsupervised at the beach."
   The resident complained that the community was not notified of the offender "who is living within a half-mile of Stillwater Elementary."
   Jim Beaumont, a detective with the King County Special Assault Unit based in Kent, said a public meeting on the youth will be held on Feb. 13, 7 p.m., at Stillwater Elementary.
   He said the 14-year-old was convicted of the attempted rape of a child in the 1st degree in April 2001. He was released Dec. 27.
   "Folks often assume that notification of the public is required in these cases," he said. "But with a Level 2 sex offender we are not even required to hold a meeting."
   He said, though, they are required to notify the school district and local law enforcement officials, adding that there is no time frame for notifying the community.
   "Sometimes these people are set to be released but find out there is objection in the community and then they don't go there," he said. "That is why we wait until they get settled so we don't have to do it (notification) all over again."
   Beaumont said complaints about an offender are handled through the probation officer and it is possible that the person may have his probation extended if enough complaints were lodged.
   He said the youth is enrolled in the Riverview School District.
   "Most people don't want sex offenders in their neighborhoods," he said. "But there is a lot of misinformation out there about where they can live. People serve their time and can live anywhere they want. With most offenders there are no restrictions."
   Local patrol units are provided with the information, he emphasized.
   "The local police and school district know about the offender and where he lives," he said. "The only delay is in getting the neighborhood advised and planning the meeting, once the offender registers there."