By David Courtland
Pilot Staff Writer
Curry County Sheriff Kent Owens has announced a system for letting people know when a particularly dangerous sex offender is living in their town or neighborhood.
andquot;I've always been a big advocate of releasing information,andquot; Owens said Monday. andquot;The public often doesn't trust government, especially with matters of credibility.andquot;
Owens was spurred to establish the system by public reaction to the July murder of Brookings resident Carol Zimmerman by convicted rapist Billy Prueitt.
The notification process goes into effect whenever offenders, designated by the state parole board as sexual predators or sexually violent, are released into Curry County.
It also kicks in when sex offenders move from another county. Offenders are only allowed to transfer to another county if they have family there willing to sponsor them.
It doesn't apply to the most common type of sex offender, the statutory rapist who has had sex with a consenting minor.
When a violent or predatory sex offender moves into a neighborhood, the Curry County Community Corrections Department. will notify:
?The appropriate law enforcement agency, such as the Brookings Police Department; in unincorporated areas, the Oregon State Police and Curry County Sheriff's Department.
?Immediate neighbors around the offender's proposed home.
?Neighborhood associations like Neighborhood Watch.
?Local print and broadcast media.
?Local schools and their district office.
In addition, employers will be told details of the parolee's offense and their conditions of parole. Parole officers will make regular and random home visits to make sure the offender is living at his registered address.
andquot;For now we're focusing on South County, because that's where the two sexual predators currently under supervision are,andquot; said Owens. andquot;But the policy is the same for Gold Beach and Port Orford.andquot;
Owens said licensed day care centers would be contacted, and efforts made to located any unlicensed ones as well.
On Tuesday, Owens released photos and biographical information about the two sexual predators currently under supervision in Curry County. The first is Jerry Allen Miller and the other is Samuel Allen Gates.
The Pilot is publishing Miller's photo and information today (Oct. 16) on Page 6A. Gates information will be published in Saturday's issue.
The same information and photographs have also been sent to the Brookings Post Office and Chetco Community Library, who are considering whether to put them on display.
Owens is also planning several community meetings with public officials for people to ask questions about the process.