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Sex offenders' names released

October 03, 2000

Sex offenders' names released



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - The names of 19 sex offenders living in Jefferson County were released to the public Tuesday night as part of a state law designed to help citizens better protect themselves.

The sex offender registry, created by the Legislature in 1993, stemmed from two high-profile national cases, one in which a New Jersey girl was raped and killed in 1994.

Seven-year-old Megan Kanka was killed by a twice-convicted child molester who lived on her block, said Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael D. Thompson.

The sex offender registry allows the West Virginia State Police to release the name of a convicted sex offender if the person is a sexually violent offender, if the offender has multiple convictions, if the offender's victim was a minor or if the offender has been determined to be a sexually violent predator.

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About 30 people gathered inside an auditorium at the Creative Arts Center at Shepherd College to hear the names of the 19 sex offenders living in the county.

After a line of prosecutors, domestic violence experts and police talked about the law, State Police Sgt. Scott Paugh read aloud the names of the 19 people.

Beginning today, citizens can learn the identities of the sex offenders by going to a state police Web site at www.wvstatepolice.com., Paugh said.

Citizens also can request that state police provide them with a list of sex offenders that will be updated at least quarterly, according to Paugh.

A list of 14 sex offenders living in Berkeley County was released two years ago.

In addition to releasing the names of the 19 sex offenders in Jefferson County, correctional officials offered advice on how parents can protect their children from sex crimes.

A sex offender who preys on children is often characterized as the "dirty old man in the raincoat," but often that is not the case, said Sandy Jaynes, a counselor who treats sex offenders at the Mount Olive Correctional Complex in Fayette County.

In many cases, the victim is someone the offender knows, Jaynes said.

"There is no way you can look at a person and tell the person is a sex offender," Jaynes said.

Sex offenders who prey on children often "groom" their victims before committing sexual offenses, said Trudy Blaylock, who also treats sex offenders at Mount Olive.

Sex offenders sometimes offer services to youths that are attractive to kids, such is fixing bikes, said Blaylock. After a sex offender wins a child's attention by fixing the child's bike, the offender may invite the child into his house, where the offender impresses the youngster with other things like candy, music television channels or cartoons, Blaylock said.

Then the sexual assaults begin, Blaylock said.

Parents can detect possible trouble if their children start demonstrating odd behavior such as being unable to sleep, acting overly anxious or engaging in self-destructive behavior, said Blaylock.

"If something doesn't seem right, that's when we need to talk to our kids," Blaylock said.

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