SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) – Sen. Mark Hass said he’s disturbed to hear a registered sex offender is legally living behind a school in the Beaverton district he represents. And he said he’s taking steps in response to parent concerns and stories from KOIN 6 News.
“It was pointed out, it was good journalism and these parents have the right to be upset,” Hass told KOIN 6 News at the Oregon State Capitol . “I’d be upset. I’m a parent, we live near a school and if we can toughen this up, we will.”
In 1986, Joseph Hull was convicted of felony sex abuse involving a child under the age of 12. He went to prison, served his time and is not allowed to be places where children gather.
He is legally living behind Vose Elementary School in Beaverton in a group home at 11215 SW Marylynn Place. Some of the neighbors have concerns about his proximity to the school.
Hull, 67, told KOIN 6 News he is not concerned he might re-offend.
“I just don’t put myself in that position,” he said. “I’m not supposed to be around kids and I realize that that’s why I’m here, is we don’t have kids here.”
He dismissed the notion of the kids nearby. “Well, that’s over there and I avoid that.”
There is no law in Oregon that prevents Hull from living near a school.
“Why is this happening in Oregon?” parent Victoria Toews told KOIN 6 News Monday. “There are other states that have legislation in place in which a sex offender can’t be within 2,000 feet of a school.”
California is one example of a state that has created laws to keep sex offenders away from schools.
Opponents say residency laws force offenders onto the street or away from their families, creating hardships that make them more likely to re-offend.
That argument does not convince Toews. “We’re concerned and we are not going to stop until we get a resolution that keeps the kids safe.”
Sex offender registrations
On April 24, Hull was arrested and taken to Multnomah County for two registration violations.
He is scheduled to appear in Multnomah County court on May 8 for failing to register as a sex offender.
Sen. Hass said the “first thing we did was to write the (Multnomah County) DA an official letter saying, ‘This guy broke the rules, he needs to be back in jail.'”
Hass said he’s confident that will happen as the Hull case moves forward. He said he is also working on legislation to clarify the language in the law of when a sex offender needs to register.
The Beaverton Democrat is also listening to his constituents and their concerns about how a predatory sex offender could live near a school.
“If somebody moves next to a school, we need to cover that,” he said.