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Community meets about Arlington sex offenders
ARLINGTON Registered sex offenders in Arlington were the subjects of a community notification meeting Jan. 3.
Area residents met at the old Arlington High School A building to discuss registered sex offenders Timothy McKenna and David Stout with Snohomish County Sheriffs Detective Joseph Beard, Washington State Department of Corrections Community Corrections Officer Travis Dotzhauer and Aaron Verba, legal advocate for the Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse.
McKenna and Stout reside on the 8600 block of 172nd Street NE and are Level 3 sex offenders.
McKenna pled guilty to rape in the third degree in 1991, against a 16-year-old pregnant girl who was hitchhiking home, and was found guilty of rape of a child in the first degree in 1996, against a 6-year-old girl on two occasions. He attended sex offender treatment in prison and disclosed a total of 20 additional victims, between the ages of 4 and 50.
Stout pled guilty to one count of first degree child molestation in 1999, against two boys, aged 7 and 10 years. He admitted to as many as 24 victims, between the ages of 2 to 10, both male and female, but he did not participate in sex offender treatment while in prison.
After Beard summarized the history of sex offender notification laws in the state of Washington, Verba provided parents with tips on how to prevent their children and themselves from being groomed by potential sex offenders.
Ninety-five percent of offenders are known to their victims, Verba said. These offenders identify children who are vulnerable and engage in peer-like play with them. They make it their business to know all about childrens lives and culture. They desensitize children to touch, to test their boundaries, and they isolate their victims and make them feel responsible for the abuse, so the children wont tell.
To protect their children from such abuse, Verba told parents to empower their children, by talking with them about sex on age-appropriate levels, maintaining open lines of communication with their children, teaching them about setting physical boundaries, and using appropriate names for body parts.
They need to have ownership over their own bodies, so they can deny others access, Verba said. And if your child does disclose abuse to you, be prepared to listen to them, regardless of when or where they choose to disclose, and stay calm. This will be very hard, but if you get angry, it will show the child that you cant handle it, which might reinforce what their abuser has told them about telling. Comfort your child, and tell them youll take care of them and that youll do something about it.
Beard told the parents that McKenna and Stout are living in a faith-based clean-and-sober house, which meets their court-ordered conditions, including its required distance away from any schools, playgrounds or parks. Dotzhauer told them that both offenders must meet with him face-to-face every week, and that having both offenders living at the same locations makes it easier to check up on them.
One of the parents in attendance was a 9-1-1 operator, and she echoed Beards advice to call in any suspicious behavior, even if it turns out to be groundless.
Id prefer so-called pain-in-the-neck calls where we find nothing, rather than not hearing about abuse, Beard said. If you call 9-1-1 and tell them these are Level 3 sex offenders, officers will make it a priority.
Although Beard cited statistics that only 5 percent of sex offenders reoffend that we know of, he added that Level 3 sex offenders are classified as such because they are considered most likely to reoffend. Dotzhauer clarified that his right to inspect the offenders premises is based on reasonable suspicion, which is much broader than probable cause, and that the premises would be randomly inspected at least every 90 days, if not even more often.
For further information about him, you may view his complete bulletin at the Sheriffs Office Web site, at www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/Departments/Sheriff/Services/Sex_Offender.