SALT LAKE CITY — If you want to protect your kids from a registered sex offender — or a sex offender who hasn’t been caught yet — make sure you teach them to protect themselves.
That’s the advice of “Tom,” a self-described registered sex offender who called into Dave & Dujanovic to talk to Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega.
According to Tom, it’s not the registered sex offender who lives in your neighborhood you have to worry about — it’s the one who hasn’t been caught yet.
What the rules are in Utah
Unlike most states, Utah does not restrict where a sex offender can live.
“What is it like living outside of prison when you’re a registered sex offender in Utah?” the hosts asked.
“It’s impossible to find a house,” he said. “I’m still married. I’m one of the lucky ones. I stayed married through my three years in prison.
“My wife and I are looking for a house, either to rent or to buy. But you actually have to tell people, ‘I am on the registry. I am a sex offender.’ But as soon as they hear that, they shut down. You can’t get a house anywhere,” Tom said.
Utah law specifies five protected zones that are off-limits for those convicted of a crime against a minor:
- Licensed daycares or preschools
- Swimming pools open to the public
- Public or private primary/secondary schools
- Community park open to the public
- Playground open to the public
“It was horrible”
“Tom, what was your treatment like in prison and do you feel like you will not recidivate or reoffend?” Debbie asked.
“The treatment in prison from both the inmates and the guards was one of complete destain. It was horrible,” he said. “I was one of the lucky ones. I never actually got in a fight in prison.
“It’s not the sex offender who has been caught that you have to worry about. It’s the one who hasn’t been caught yet. That’s the one you got to worry about,” Tom said.
Tom says his parole officers check in with him once a month and takes a lie-detector test.
Instruct your kids
“There’s more than 7,000 registered sex offenders here in Utah. What do you think would be the best way to help sex offenders reintegrate into society?” Dave asked.
“You know, I think the biggest thing is show some compassion, forgiveness,” Tom said. “I realized they’ve made a heinous mistake. I had a friend of mine who was on the registry for public urination three times in a row. He got caught on the side of the road three time in a row, and he was on the registry.”
“How do we protect our children from people who are sex offenders?” Debbie asked. “And to put it bluntly, people like you who have hurt children or others.”
“Instruct your children in the no-touch areas. And tell them, ‘Hey, if somebody touches you there, run, kick, scream, do whatever you have to do to get the heck out of there,” Tom said.
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