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Senator fighting to prevent state from ‘dumping’ sex offenders in Pierce County

Senator Steve O'Ban. (TVW)

Three men convicted of crimes ranging from communication with a minor for immoral purposes to killing one girl and sexually assaulting as many as 30 more are set to be discharged to a group home in Pierce County.

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Senator Steve O’Ban (R-University Place) is asking Gov. Jay Inslee to halt plans that would place these Level III sex offenders in Lakewood.

“These are the last people that should be in a residential neighborhood with children …” O’Ban told the Jason Rantz Show on 770 KTTH.

O’Ban sent a letter to Gov. Inslee earlier this week. In it, he urges the governor to stop the Department of Social and Health Services’ plan. He requests that the sex offenders are transferred to an “enhanced service facility” outside of the county. O’Ban also raises questions of community safety and brings up the issue of the state “dumping” a share of violent offenders into his district.

The three men currently in the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island did not commit their crimes in Pierce County, according to O’Ban. However, “we are seeing the worst of the worst being dumped in Pierce County.” He says that is because it is convenient to do so.

The three men set to be released to a low-security adult family home are:

  • Robert Aronson of Spokane County, who pleaded guilty to child rape
  • Daniel Holdren of Thurston County, who pleaded guilty twice to communicating with a minor for immoral purposes
  • Gerald Johnson of Mason County, who admitted to killing a girl and sexually assaulting up to 30 other girls;

They are all Level III sex offenders, meaning there is a greater risk that they will re-offend.

O’Ban asks people to imagine that they are parents living in the neighborhood and who will now have to worry about their children’s safety every time they go out to play.

“I just think we need to be sensitive to folks who think they are living in safe neighborhoods,” he said.

Listen to the entire conversation below.

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