Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

Home · Articles · News · Region Watch · ‘My Neighbor is a...
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‘My Neighbor is a Pedaphile‘

Robert Downes - January 13th, 2005
Living next door to a sex offender is more common than you might imagine

Living next door to a convicted child molester is a terrifying experience for one Grand Traverse area mother of three young children. “How would I protect myself and my family if he ever came over here?” she asks.
Last year, while scanning the Michigan State Police Sex Offender Registry website, she was dismayed to find that a sex offender was living next door to her family’s four-acre spread southeast of Traverse City. She learned that her new neighbor had been released from a 15-year prison sentence for second degree criminal sexual conduct involving two toddlers, one of whom was his own child. She visited the county courthouse where the case was tried and was shaken and disturbed by the court records. “It was awful stuff he did to them,” she says.
According to Michigan State Police documents, a second degree conviction means sexual contact (short of penetration) with the threat of bodily harm to a minor.
Today, she fears for her children, ages six, three and one, and for other kids in the neighborhood. (Her name and that of the offender have been omitted from this article.)
“Every day you hear in the newspapers about this sort of stuff,” she says in a telephone interview. “It’s an awful feeling. From what I heard about these sorts of people, they don’t necessarily get better and some of them prey on kids again.”

THE SEX OFFENDER NEXT DOOR
Living next door to a sex offender is more common than you might imagine, even in Northern Michigan.
In Traverse City, for instance, there are a total of 103 sex offenders registered for the 49686 and 49684 zip code areas on the Sex Offender Registry website (www.michigan.gov/msp). In Petoskey/Harbor Springs, there are 27 sex offenders registered in the 49770 zip code area. There are perhaps half a dozen in Leelanau County and twice that number in Benzie County.
Convictions tallied on the website range from indecent exposure and “gross indecency between male persons” to possession of child pornography and child sexual abuse.
Then too, the website lists a garden variety of rapists in area neighborhoods and locales, from those who have committed violent first degree sexual penetration to those guilty of fifth degree sexual contact.
Proximity to playgrounds, schools and other child facilities can add an additional concern.
Such is the case in the Traverse area situation. “We drive our kids to private school, but there’s a campground and a bus stop near the home and I get a feeling of impending doom,” the woman says.
“Here we live by a campground,” she adds. “You go to a campground and you get a sense that people are friendly just like yourself; but now we have a real fear and a perceived threat.”

WHAT TO DO?
Although the State Police website has considerable information on who must register as a sex offender, it is silent on how neighbors can protect themselves.
In the woman‘s case described here, she said the Grand Traverse County Sheriff‘s Department was aware of the situation and that she had been advised to look for tracks in the snow near her home as a warning sign.
Of note, a new film, “The Woodsman,“ starring Kevin Bacon, dramatizes the story of a pedaphile trying to resume life in his community. For Roger Ebert‘s review of the film, see page 35.

 
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