Sex offenders get more scrutiny

CARSON CITY — Parole officers in Nevada these days are taking more time to check out the backyards of the sex offenders they supervise.

Gov. Jim Gibbons said the abject failure of the parole system in California to find kidnapped and imprisoned Jaycee Lee Dugard for 18 years provides a lesson from which all parole officers can learn.

Gibbons said he wants to assure people ‘that our officers are checking things they may have bypassed in the past."

Mark Woods, deputy director of the state Division of Parole and Probation, said his officers always have closely checked residences of sex offenders. Now they are being more thorough, even viewing satellite images of sex offenders’ residences on the Google Earth Web site.

A backyard shed and tents at Phillip Garrido’s Antioch, Calif., home is where the convicted sex offender is alleged to have imprisoned Jaycee and two girls he is believed to have fathered. Google Earth images showed the shed and tents, although the parole officers who regularly visited the 58-year-old’s home never found the girls.

Neighbors even had called local police and told them Garrido, a former Reno resident who did time in a Nevada prison, was a pervert who had children playing in his backyard.

Though officials are promising vigilance, the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation has not always been up to its task. A legislative audit released in March 2008 found parole officers 31 percent of the time failed to meet the twice-monthly requirement of visiting with sex offenders.

In about half the cases, officers were not taking DNA samples from sex offenders as the law required. In some cases, their initial visits were made six months after offenders were released from prison.

John Gonska, then parole and probation director, told legislators he had been prevented from filling 50 parole officer vacancies because of a hiring freeze ordered by Gibbons. His 198 officers were supposed to supervise 18,000 parolees. He resigned shortly after release of the audit, which concluded "public safety is at risk" because parolees were not properly supervised.

Those problems have been fixed, Woods said.

There are now 263 officers on the job and 18 vacancies will be filled if needed in coming months.

Woods added that the agency now meets the requirement of having one parole officer supervising no more than 45 sex offenders.

Nevada parole officers now work in two-member teams when they visit the residences of the 1,117 sex offenders they supervise, Woods said. Most paroled sex offenders live in apartments, he added, but some live on rural ranches.

Working in pairs is safer for the officers, and the extra pair of eyes is helpful, he added.

But sometimes all the due diligence in the world isn’t going to stop a sex offender or any other determined parolee from committing new crimes, he said.

Woods remembers when he was a young parole officer visiting a drug offender’s home in Sparks.

"I had been there many times," he said. "One day I felt the floor move. I pulled back the rug and there was a trap door where he had dug out a basement. He hid his drugs there. It was sheer luck that I found it."

NO GUARANTEES

Gibbons concedes he cannot guarantee a Jaycee Dugard case won’t happen here.

"Even if there was one parole officer assigned to one sex offender, you can’t guarantee nothing bad ever will happen," Gibbons said.

But he wants Nevada to gain a reputation as a living hell for sex offenders.

The Dugard case is one of the reasons the governor said he will back legislation, if he wins re-election, to increase sentences for sex offenders and toughen release requirements to ensure they’re properly supervised.

"They are going to feel if they are living in Nevada they might as well be living in jail," Gibbons said.

Garrido had been convicted in 1977 for kidnapping and sexually assaulting Katherine Callaway, then 25. She had given him a ride outside a South Lake Tahoe, Calif., market after he said his car broke down.

After conning Callaway into giving him a ride, Garrido handcuffed her and drove to a mini-warehouse in Reno where he had set up a virtual sex den, complete with pornographic magazines and a film projector.

A police officer, checking an open door at the warehouse, caught and arrested him.

At his federal proceedings, Garrido contended he lost his reasoning when under the influence of LSD. He said he would drive through Reno neighborhoods and past schools looking for young girls. He said he would expose himself.

Garrido was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison on interstate kidnapping and sexual assault charges.

He served 11 years in federal prison before he won parole and was returned to Nevada to serve his state sentence of five years to life, which was running concurrently to his federal sentence, on charges relating to the same crime.

Because the sentences ran concurrently, he immediately was eligible for parole in Nevada. He served seven months before he was released from a Nevada prison into federal parole supervision.

At the time, state Parole Commission members rated him as a "moderate" risk to re-offend. Garrido then moved to Antioch, east of San Francisco, where his mother lived.

Callaway, now Katherine Hall and living in Las Vegas, told CNN’s Larry King in an interview that she moved to Las Vegas because she feared Garrido would find her, even though she was never certain he was a free man. She said she thought she once saw him come into Caesars Tahoe, where she was working.

An Associated Press report Friday said he also had been arrested in 1972 on suspicion of drugging and raping a 14-year-old girl in Antioch. The girl refused to testify.

Though Woods won’t fault his counterparts in California, he can’t understand why Dugard was not found for 18 years. Jaycee was 11 when she was kidnapped in 1991 from a school bus stop in South Lake Tahoe.

Daniel Burns, Gibbons’ communications director, said there is "no way" the state Parole Commission today would release a sex offender like Garrido after he served just seven months. Better assessment procedures and truth-in-sentencing laws that have recently been enacted would have prevented such a scenario.

TRACKING OFFENDERS

Today there are 14,040 sex offenders living in Nevada, including 1,660 whose whereabouts are unknown to police, according to the state Department of Public Safety. They have not obeyed requirements to register and give their addresses, Woods said. But he stressed those offenders are not required to be supervised by parole officers.

Of the total, 205 have been rated as "Tier 3" offenders, or those with a high risk of reoffending.

Woods said his agency tracks all 1,117 sex offenders who must submit to supervision as part of their sentences.

Most of the other 13,000 are those who have completed all provisions of their sentences, or are not required to be supervised.

With the exception of a few cases, Woods said his division knows where every sex offender parolee requiring supervision is living.

Nonetheless, according to state statistics, 89 sex offenders have given false information about their addresses or places of business, and 453 simply never registered when they left prison or moved to Nevada. Again, according to Woods, these are offenders who are not required to be supervised by parole officers.

Woods said his agency is notified in advance when a sex offender from another state who requires supervision is scheduled to move to Nevada.

If the offender doesn’t show up at the agreed time, officials begin looking for him.

Woods said he realizes some sex offenders are very sophisticated and look for ways to repeat their crimes and to avoid detection.

That requires officers to be vigilant.

"Having worked the streets for many years, I know we do a pretty thorough job," Woods said. "I feel confident."

Contact Review-Journal Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal. com or 775-687-3901.

News
Nature Conservancy Ranch
The Nature Conservancy just bought the 900-acre 7J Ranch at the headwaters of the Amargosa River, north of Beatty. The property could become a research station, though ranching will continue.
Swift water rescue at Durango Wash in Las Vegas
On Thursday, February 14, 2019, at approximately 8:42 a.m., the Clark County Fire Department responded to a report of a swift water incident where people were trapped in the Durango wash which is located near 8771 Halcon Ave. Personnel found one person who was trapped in the flood channel. The individual was transported to the hospital in stable condition. Video by Clark County Fire & Rescue.
Flooding at E Cheyenne in N. Las Vegas Blvd.
Quick Weather Around the Strip
Rain hits Las Vegas, but that doesn't stop people from heading out to the Strip. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries. The Cleveland Clinic will begin researching the brains of retired bull riders to understand the impact traumatic brain injuries have on cognition. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Matt Stutzman shoots arrows with his feet
Matt Stutzman who was born without arms shoots arrows with his feet and hits the bullseye with remarkable accuracy. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Secretary of Air Force Emphasizes the Importance of Nellis AFB
US Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited Nellis Air Force Base during Red Flag training and described how important the base is to the military.
Former Northwest Academy student speaks out
Tanner Reynolds, 13, with his mother Angela McDonald, speaks out on his experience as a former student of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff member Caleb Michael Hill. Hill, 29, was arrested Jan. 29 by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of child abuse.
Former Northwest Academy students speak out
Tristan Groom, 15, and his brother Jade Gaastra, 23, speak out on their experiences as former students of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff and excessive medication.
Disruption At Metro PD OIS Presser
A man claiming to be part of the press refused to leave a press conference at Metro police headquarters, Wednesday January 30, 2019. Officers were forced to physically remove the man. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience after the city began operating around the clock. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Las Vegas parts ways with operator of homeless courtyard
Jocelyn Bluitt-Fisher discusses the transition between operators of the homeless courtyard in Las Vegas, Thursday Jan. 24, 2019.(Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police and Raiders partner with SafeNest
Las Vegas police and the Raiders partner with SafeNest on Project Safe 417 (the police code for domestic violence is 417). The program partners trained SafeNest volunteer advocates with Metropolitan Police Department officers dispatched to domestic violence calls, allowing advocates to provide immediate crisis advocacy to victims at the scene of those calls. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
North Las Vegas police chief discusses officer-involved shooting
North Las Vegas police chief Pamela Ojeda held a press conference Thursday, Jan. 24, regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 21. The incident resulted in the killing of suspect Horacio Ruiz-Rodriguez. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Volunteers gather for annual Clark County homeless count
Volunteers gather for the annual Southern Nevada Homeless Census, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who can understand hospital price lists?
Lists of costs for procedures, drugs and devices are now posted the websites of hospitals to comply with a new federal rule designed to provide additional consumer transparency. Good luck figuring out what they mean.
People in Mesquite deal with a massive power outage
People in Mesquite respond to a major power outage in the area on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Group helping stranded motorists during power outage
A group of Good Samaritans are offering free gas to people in need at the Glendale AM/PM, during a massive power outage near Mesquite on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen falls at Las Vegas parade
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada fell and injured her wrist at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Las Vegas on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local astronomers host super blood wolf moon viewing
The Las Vegas Astronomical Society paired with the College of Southern Nevada to host a lunar eclipse viewing Sunday night. Known as the super blood wolf moon, the astronomical event won't occur for another 18 years. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The third annual Women’s March in Las Vegas
The third annual Women’s March in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @btesfaye
First former felon to work for Nevada Department of Corrections
After his father died, Michael Russell struggled for years with drug addiction. When he finally decided to change for good, he got sober and worked for years to help others. Now he is the first former felon to be hired by the Nevada Department of Corrections. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like