Dunn pushes for more restrictive laws against housing for violent sex offenders

May 8, 2023, 5:09 PM | Updated: 5:49 pm

violent sex offenders...

Tenino playground near the Garden House, a proposed LRA for violent sex offenders. (Photo courtesy of The Bryan Suits Show)

(Photo courtesy of The Bryan Suits Show)

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn proposed additional restrictions for the housing of violent sex offenders last week after Supreme Living decided to no longer pursue its plans to create transitional housing for sex offenders in Tenino. The decision came after weeks-long protests from both residents and community leaders.

“The State of Washington has pretty strong statutory laws that say when and where level three sex offenders can be placed,” Dunn told Jason Rantz on KTTH 770 AM.

Home for violent sex offenders in Tenino shuts down

Level three sex offenders are classified as those likely to re-offend who’ve committed multiple violent acts, according to Dunn. His ordinance would impose new restrictions on how Washington state can site less restrictive alternative (LRA) housing within King County.

“What’s happened is, the SHS, which is the agency the state government has kind of tried to sneak a loophole through, calling these lower risk housing options, something that isn’t under the statutory provision even though they involve level three sex offenders,” Dunn continued. “So I proposed the law with King County that requires a conditional use permit to cite level three sex offenders in rural, unincorporated, and agricultural areas in King County and I’m pushing that through now.”

Sex offenders can be relocated into LRAs following their prison sentences and time spent at the McNeil Island Secure Commitment Center. Washington currently has 25 LRAs within the state.

“Do you have the support of the King County Council?” Rantz asked.

“I think I probably will get it. If nothing else, these are level three sex offenders, right? You’re the worst kind of actor out there,” Dunn answered. “You can’t, in most cases, stop yourself if you’re a level three sex offender. It also involves an act of violence, forcible compulsion, multiple acts. These are flat-out dangerous people by any standard. And what the state is trying to do is put it in an agricultural area near a school bus stop. There’s no law enforcement presence in rural unincorporated King County. It’s about a third of what exists in the city, per capita.”

Every convicted sex offender living in an LRA is under close supervision of both the DSHS and the DOC, according to state law, and is required to follow court-ordered conditions, including sex offender behavioral health treatment and monitoring, according to DSHS. All must wear GPS ankle monitors at all times and register with the local sheriff’s office. Additionally, each sexually violent predator has a transition team that includes a certified sex offender treatment provider, a social worker from the Secure Commitment Center, and a DOC corrections specialist.

Sex offender housing: How recent WA laws have changed the process

If Dunn’s ordinance is approved, it would require a conditional-use permit to be obtained before placing LRA sex offender housing in unincorporated King County, according to Dunn in a prepared statement. Housing facilities for sex offenders would be required to be placed more than 500 feet from anywhere minors congregate, such as libraries, schools and parks. Under the ordinance, a public meeting must be held at least two weeks before the proposal of a facility’s location “to notify and engage with the impacted community.”

“When you put criminals rights before the rights of victims, you get that backward approach,” Dunn said. “Look at the crime statistics. Look at the recidivism, look at the drug dealing, look at the overdoses, look at the homeless problem. All of it is related to these failed policies that don’t work. If you want to lower crime in your community, you put them behind bars where they can’t reoffend. It’s real simple. It isn’t about rehabilitating them. I don’t care about that. I care about keeping the people off the streets so our neighborhoods are safer.”

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Dunn pushes for more restrictive laws against housing for violent sex offenders