Katrina sent sex offenders off the radar
Governors urged to track 2,000 evacuated offenders
Friday, December 30, 2005; Posted: 4:52 p.m. EST (21:52 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Governors in states that accepted Katrina evacuees are being urged to locate about 2,000 registered sex offenders who fled the Gulf region during the hurricane's mayhem and may have vanished from legally required tracking.
The unexpected consequences of the Bush administration's bungling of Katrina continue to ripple through our communities. Couple this with a recent WFSB I-Team news investigation of the Rocky Hill Veteran's facility.
An I-Team investigation...Dangerous conditions at Connecticut's Veterans Home in Rocky Hill, and we discovered much more than just health hazards.
Our investigation also uncovered convicted felons -- even sex offenders living inside.
It's a report that has the government backpeddling -- even before they see the story.
Our I-Team undercover camera captured decrepit bathrooms, dirty walls and ceilings, and floors falling apart inside the state veterans' home.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to residents' fears for their health and more importantly, safety.
Veterans and other sources tell Eyewitness News the home has admitted a growing number of veterans with more violent pasts.
"Rocky Hill essentially has a prison in its backyard at some level," said Richard Browne a former resident at the Veterans Home. "And it's not being taken care of."
Richard Browne lived at the home for 10 months beginning in June of 2004. He says in his short time there he noticed a growing number of fellow veterans on probation and parole.
This facility is being expanded. The feds have an obligation to provide the community with an inventory of what our veterans are being subjected to as well as to the quality of people residing there. Here's why (aside from the painfully obvious);
On December 28,, 2005, the Chronicle wrote an op-ed piece called, Field Trip Offers a Real Education.
The field trip was by Windham Middle School students to the Rocky Hill Vetran's Home. It discusses parental opposition to the field trip and that the Windham Middle School Staff "stood their ground. The students visited the home."
The op ed goes on to say, "These trips are historically well supervised with plenty of chaperones, from both the school and veterans home staff. Threats are not an issue."
Excuse me? Threats are not an issue!
As a school board member I would have voted, NO - not on my watch. I do not know the psychology of the threat that exists but I would be loathe to parade anyone's middle school child into the imagination of a potential threat. I disagree with the Chronicle editorial and with the administrators who allowed such a trip.
I would like to see the State Department of Education issue a policy guideline that suggests proibiting the exposure of students to facilities that house sex offenders. This isn't an issue of respect for veterans this is an issue of public safety that all of the platitudes about real-world experiences cannot justify.
Furthermore for the safety of the residents, any expansion of this facility should conform to strict State of Connecticut guidelines for residential eligibility.