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I Live Next Door to a Registered Sex Offender: My Personal Trauma

Updated on March 2, 2013
GarnetBird profile image

Gloria taught for many years, and also worked as a mental health group facilitator.

90% of all sex offenders commit a crime after release from prison or jail..is your family safe at night?

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By Gloria Siess, {"Garnetbird"}

The house seemed bright with promise. Yellow, airy with a private garden in back, surrounded by the explosive, joyous cries of Acorn Woodpeckers. Best of all, it had a safe feeling to it, as it was near a Christian Retreat Camp. Peace seemed to radiate over the hill into the very essence of the home itself. It had extra space for my online Bookstore inventory, and allowed for our numerous cats with only a modest pet deposit.

Wanting security, my spouse and I signed a five-year lease. It seemed the right thing to do. As a sexual abuse survivor and author of a book on incest, I was careful to check the registry to see who was living in my immediate street area. It came out clean and we started to pack and begin the task of moving 5,000 books into the new place.

About four days after signing the lease, I noticed the house next door to us had a new occupant. I watched them unload the U-Haul and a sense of unease came over me. For some reason I was loathe to confront them, even though their truck was blocking my driveway. Something in me said to stay away and avoid meeting these people. The man was very tall, heavy, with a hard look on his face and a beard. He was with a yellow-haired lady who appeared tough and frazzled. Something about them disturbed me. I am not a snob or a judgmental person, but I do use my instincts. My inner alarm bell sounded ever so softly as I watched them move in.

Later the next day I felt compelled to look at the registry again. I typed in our address and was quite horrified when the dreaded red flag popped up, indicating a predator had moved into my neighborhood. My new neighbor is a registered sex offender, guilty of child rape with an individual under the age of fourteen. He is living next door to me, within a quarter mile hike to a Christian Retreat where families and their children live in cabins. I was stunned. I had done everything right and it had still turned out terribly wrong. An offender had moved in days after I signed my lease and there was no turning back, and no place else to go.

I called my leasing agent and she, too, was shocked. She contacted the home owners association in that area and the owner was not aware her agent had rented the house to a offender. Since he was technically not living next door to a family with children, he was not breaking the law. My agent suggested I call to the local Police Department. I did so, and the deputy advised me to stay alert and let them know if he harassed me in any way or was seen in the presence of children. Other than that, there was nothing they could do, of course.

I was also advised that if I circulated flyers in my neighborhood or otherwise harassed the offender, I would be subject to criminal charges under the law. A good friend of mine who runs a recovery program for Incest Survivors advised me to keep a low profile and secretly keep a journal in case any suspicious activity is observed. Due to her experience, she warned me that registered offenders can be explosive if confronted and to avoid any eye contact or verbal exchange with the neighbor.

As the author of a true story on my own childhood experience with incest and molestation, I find this situation unbearable, eerie and extremely ironic. I can only thank God that I live watchfully and am going to purchase a economical home security system for my own peace of mind and that of my family's.

To monitor your own neighborhood, go to HOMEFACTS.COM and type in your immediate address. If there are offenders in your area, they will be flagged with a red dot. Click on the dots and the offenders photo and criminal charges will pop up. Take this information to MUGSHOTS.COM for a more detailed profile of the criminal activity and specific dates. I am sorry to say that there are no laws to protect someone from this-- if the offender moves in after they do. In my case, he moved next door mere days after we had signed a five year lease.

Note: As of 2013, the offender has moved and my prayers were answered.

Comments

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    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      5 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      As of 2013, the offender has moved. (Answered prayer, perhaps?)

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Thank you..on the PLUS side, he looks old and relatively harmless (now) and is rarely home. But we cannot drop our guards, can we?I rarely see him at all, which is fine with me. Thank you for your kind comment.

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 

      6 years ago from Kansas City - United States

      I am sorry you are having to go through such an ordeal, GarnetBird. I feel for you and I hope the sex offender moves SOON. That webpage is great information to get out there.

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Thank you Aviannoive..we love the area and house and are hoping the offender will move.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I am so sorry that this had to crop up in your life. May your five-year lease go by quickly.

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Yes it is so important to know their faces and history/some offenders target adults as well as children of course. Your comments are great.

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      I lived in downtown Chinatown in Honolulu on River St. All the sex offenders had registered at the local shelter - 600 of them. That right - I had 600 sex offenders in my zip code area. I felt as if I was in a open air prison system.

      It took a very long time, but I went through all 600 and recognized at least 6 different people that although did not know - recognized the face, including one that was down the hallway from me in my apartment building.

      I now live in a town that has 17 sex offenders and I printed out all pics for future reference.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Awful as the situation may seem, it would be so much worse if you were living next door to an unregistered offender. Forewarned is fore armed and this person may have changed anyway.

      I hope everything works out fine for you and you have many happy years in your new home.

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      That is awesome!! Yes, these sites can save lives. We have about 20 of them where I live, 4 within 1 mile of my home. I love the new house and it's a real shame that my nerves got rattled right away. Thank you for your lovely comments.

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 

      6 years ago

      I agree with moonlake, I would not have thought of checking for neighborhood sex offenders prior to moving into a place. however, I must thank you GarnetBird for I have my daughter and 2 young grand-babies coming for a visit this coming week and check the websites you suggested for offenders. There are 18 in the town I live with a population of 6300, this is way to many!! But, I do know where they live now... Many thanks!

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      6 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      I am hoping others will learn from this..the sad thing is, he moved in a few days after I signed the 5 year lease and I was not forewarned by any website. Thanks for reading!!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      6 years ago from America

      I feel bad for you of all things to happen. Just can't get away from those sorry .............! Glad you shared and to tell the truth I would have never thought of checking for an offender when moving. Voted up and more.

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 

      6 years ago

      Great article. Your information and links are quite helpful. Thank you for sharing. Voted up for useful and interesting.

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