By Natalie Brand
We showed you how local law enforcement tracks sex offenders in Valley neighborhoods, in a KPSP Local 2 special feature Thursday. Now, we're hearing from a side we don't normally hear from, a registered offender who says not all offenders should be treated the same.
"What bothers me the most is everyone is lumped into one category," said the offender, we'll identify as "John." "I think people should have a chance to show their worth." He continues, "I'm a productive member of society. I have a job. I own this house."
John didn't want to talk about his offense, listed on the Megan's Law website as a lewd or lascivious act with a child under 14 years. He says it was committed twenty years ago, when he was 27. "I was a heroin addict...made a mistake I really don't remember."
Now sober, John says treatment and structure have helped him and says he's never reoffended. Psychologists say predicting recidivism is difficult. "I can't speak for others," said John. "My opinion would be, "yes," there are some triggers. I do believe there are some sexual predators out there that need to be watched. I agree with that 100%, but not everyone does."
And even with the strictest of supervision, John admits, it's difficult to stop a predator. "If somebody is still going to reoffend, they will cut their GPS system off and leave." John adds, "I think reoffense should have a much stronger penalty. I agree with that."
While John agrees offenders need to register, he says being on the Megan's Law website creates a potential danger. "The biggest fear...for everybody is how many people are going to shoot us."
As for protecting the community, a dad himself, John says parents must play the biggest role in keeping their children safe.