Convicted sex offender Victor Sciortino’s placement in UCSB’s Family Student Housing has drawn more than a few raised eyebrows from those around him. Living in a complex full of children, several parents have vocalized their disdain for being forced to coexist with a known child molester.
In this case, Megan’s Law has served its exact purpose: to provide members of a community with the information — down to a registered sex offender’s address, photo, height and weight — they need to adequately protect their children.
One would hope, however, that this recent turn of events would not serve as too much of a wake-up call for local parents, as it should be their responsibility to keep a watchful eye on their children — convicted child molestor living next door or no. There is no excuse for neglectful parenting, and armed with the knowledge Megan’s Law provides, parents today are lucky to know who their neighbors are.
Parents’ pleas for rectification by the university serve little purpose. It is not the university’s responsibility to cast a protective halo around the children of its students. Nor is it the responsibility of the government; Megan’s Law does not exist to protect, but to aid parents in protecting. In the end, a child’s safety depends on the competence of his or her guardians.
There is no doubt that the horrible actions that taint Sciortino’s past are a serious matter. But despite his inhuman offenses, Sciortino is, in fact, still human — one who has served his penance, presumably learned from his mistakes and attempted to put his life back in order.
Most of all, his reentry into society grants him certain rights. Parents in turn have the right to be scared or angry, but they do not have the right to harass this man or dictate where he lives.
Sciortino’s punishment did not end in prison, as his crimes and the stigma they carry will haunt him for the rest of his life. But in the meantime, parents can prevent history from repeating itself by taking advantage of available resources and upholding their obligations to protect their kids.