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Secret shame: Keeping watch — Sex offenders face lots of supervision

Published: Wednesday, March 19 2008 12:22 a.m. MDT

Munro tells her there are two more knives, which he calls "religious items," in the house. His wife brings in a six-inch knife with a white sheath painted with the Virgin Mary. She can't find the other one.

Stoker, already agitated about the knives, asks Munro if there's any inappropriate images on his computer.

"There shouldn't be," he replies.

It's not the answer Stoker wants to hear. The Desert Storm veteran shifts into drill sergeant mode for a profanity-peppered dressing down.

Munro concedes there might be some pop-ups but insists he doesn't browse sexually explicit Web sites.

"Pop-ups don't come out of the sky and land on the earth," she tells him.

He again insists he doesn't go to porn sites.

"You're not giving me the warm fuzzies that I'm not going to find something," Stoker says, asking him the question again.

"There's shouldn't be," Munro replies for the third time.

Stoker, now beyond incredulous, tears into him.

"Why do you not know definitely? she asks. "Who's putting it on there if it's not you? One way or another if you're lying to me right now, it's going to bite you."

Stoker and Luke don't have a porn-scanning disk with them, so they warn Munro to wipe his computer clean before their next visit.

The agents tell Munro to put his shoes on and join them outside while they write up a receipt for the confiscated knives. They decided not to run him in for the weapons violation.

Sitting on the dark front porch, Munro says he really didn't think his answers to Stoker and Luke were vague.

"I am a parolee and it's expected I would be treated a little differently," he said. "I don't always agree."

During the brief interview, it comes up that Munro doesn't have a job. Stoker overhears the admission and tears into him again. She tells him to have 15 job contacts when he reports to the AP&P office three days later.

"We've been having trouble with Bill," Stoker says as she and Luke move on to the next house.

· · · · ·

Before offenders get assigned to parole officers, most go to a halfway house — or community correctional center — like a nondescript former warehouse in an industrial area on Salt Lake City's west side. Here, sex offenders are trying to make the transition from prison to the community.

The Bonneville Community Corrections Center is one of four halfway houses the Utah Department of Corrections runs. Bonneville houses 68 parolees, currently 32 of whom are sex offenders.

One is John Casack, 26, who had sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 18. Although he violated parole once and landed back behind bars, he's got a good job now and a sponsor to help with his drug and alcohol concerns.

He wants to make sure he's ready to be released from the center when it's time. "If I don't have that confidence, if that's not in place, then I'm going to ask the treatment team (to stay in the halfway house) for another 30 days."

The men live two to a room and for the first 30 days live on lockdown. The restrictions are eased with time, and privileges are earned with good behavior. They pay $180 a month for room and board. Sex offenders pay an additional $100 a month for treatment.

"We're never going to get these guys not to be sex offenders," said Craig Greenberg, an AP&P supervisor.

· · · · ·

Utah has other de facto supervisors of sex offenders, like lawmaker Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, who says the state must do a better job monitoring sex offenders.

"We're trusting them a lot," he said.

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