Keeping Your Children Safe
Dr. Phil introduces Lisa Guerrero, an Inside Edition freelance reporter who interviewed sexual predators housed at a treatment facility in McNeil Island, Washington, dubbed "Sex Offender Island."
Also joining Dr. Phil is criminal attorney Randall Longwith and Orange County district attorney Tony Rackauckas.
Dr. Phil addresses Lisa. "You talked to these men at McNeil Island, and I thought you asked some very candid questions," he says. "They were candid with you about the fact that they cannot tell you that they're not a risk."
"For some people, their triggers were muscle cars, rock ‘n' roll music, girls with long hair. For some pedophiles, [it was] diaper commercials. It was very, very disturbing to know what their triggers are," Lisa replies. She faces Jake. "How are we, as a society, supposed to know what your triggers would be? How do I know you're going to self-police?"
Dr. Phil turns to Tony. "What is the frustration that these folks are having?" he asks, referring to Barry and Susan.
[AD]"The problem is that this sex offender can move right into their neighborhood, right next to them, and the law doesn't prevent that from happening," Tony replies.
"What we have here are ugly choices. You either have [sexual predators] in a place, such as 290 [Megan's Law] requires, and that is y'all know where they are, or you run them out," Randall explains. "The risk, if you run them out, is they become transient, and the statistics on transient sex offenders indicate that those are the ones likely to re-offend. If you have stable housing and a stable support system, you are less likely to re-offend."
"We need to fix the law so that we don't have those issues," Tony says.
"One of the things I've been hearing from the audience, and I hear from a lot of people, is, ‘Isn't there a way that we as a society can take these guys, put them on an island and throw away the key?'" Lisa says. "If that's what we decide to do, on McNeil Island, for example, it costs $160,000 per resident per year to do that. Are we willing to change the laws and pay the price for keeping them away from society? I think a lot of us would say yes."
"Dr. Lareau, I guess what we're saying here is there is an ongoing danger with people that have a pattern of sexual abuse and being a predator," Dr. Phil says. "We're talking about whether these people should be housed on an island. Should they be identified by some tattoo or identifying mark? Should they be made to register? Your point is that this doesn't represent 10 percent of the predators that are out there."
"That's absolutely true," Dr. Lareau responds. "The data that we have, given the number of sex offenses that have occurred before someone is brought into criminal justice involvement, show us that the vast majority of sex offenders are still out there. They haven't been identified by the criminal justice system."[AD]
"What do you say to Barry and Susan when they have someone moving in next door whom they believe to be high risk?" Dr. Phil inquires.
"Unfortunately, there will be sex offenders who are living next to many of us. What we need to do is, of course, when we can identify them, we need to teach our kids, ‘You see this person? When you see them, you run.'"
Barry and Susan tell Dr. Phil the changes they'd like to see. "I want the bureaucracy to stop pointing fingers at each other. Every time we talk to an agency, it's somebody else's job, it's somebody else's fault. We have no control."