This letter is in response to the staff editorial concerning Victor Sciortino (“Staff Editorial: Cause for Concern,” Daily Nexus, Jan. 11). I can’t help but wonder why the Nexus is sticking up for the rights of a convicted child sex offender. Yes, I agree that Sciortino has a right to live out his life after serving his time, but in no way should it be next to an elementary school! Did you once ever once stop to think why the news was notified about his conviction and place of residence? According to Megan’s Law in California, local law enforcement agencies must notify the public about sex offender registrants found to be “posing a risk to the public.” Let me repeat that: “posing a risk to the public.” Now the news aired his story and my friends who live in West Campus were notified of his presence, but what angers me is that the university did not notify anyone who lives in the other surrounding university-owned Family Student Housing. Our children also go to Isla Vista Elementary School, as do other children in the I.V. area. Why didn’t the university notify the rest of us? Don’t we as parents have a right to know if a posed risk to the public is living next door to us or our children’ school? As a posed risk, he has a 52 percent rate of re-offending, according to the Center for Sex Offender Management – and that’s a conservative statistic.
To be honest, I don’t care what the percent is. He should not be living in West Campus Housing. It’s like putting a recovering alcoholic next to a pub. Temptation is everywhere for someone like him. It is another offense waiting to happen. Does another incident have to occur before the university takes action? As a member of the UCSB Family Student Housing community and parent of a child who attends Isla Vista Elementary, I am outraged that the university allowed him to live next to my child’s school. Granted, he may truly want to change, but that is not always enough. I’m not going to risk my child’s safety around someone who is a liability to our community. I have lived in Family Student Housing for five years and never had to worry about my child’s safety, other than what precautions we already take. In our community, we take care of each other, and I felt good that our children had a safe space to play and be children. Now that is all gone.
What also amazes me is how the Nexus editorial board placed the sole responsibility of this situation on the parents. As parents, we can only do so much. Shouldn’t our children be allowed to play without the fear of being molested, or worse? Do we have to take them out of the playgrounds and stick them in some other sort of after-school or weekend program, only to then confine them to their rooms now that he’s living in the vicinity? Is that fair for us? Should we have to make changes in our lives and inconvenience ourselves both socially and economically because of him? Where is the justice in that?
I can’t help to think that the person who wrote your staff editorial is most likely 1) not a parent, and 2) does not live in UCSB Family Student Housing. If this were the case, would they still be coming to his defense? Let me ask the Nexus editorial board, university officials and reader this: Would you allow your child to live or play around a convicted sex offender? Why don’t we allow him to live in a campus residence hall, where he is away from Isla Vista Elementary? How would you young adults on campus like to live next to a sex offender? Would your parents put up with that? If not, then why should we? It’s easy to have your opinion when it’s not in your community. Before you write a commentary about his rights, try being a parent and raising a child in an already messed up world. Or better yet, let him live next to any of you who are quick to defend his rights, while ignoring the rights of our children to grow up in a safe environment. If you are so righteous, why don’t you let him live next door to you? Have a house warming party to welcome him into your community, because he’s not welcome in ours.
Rudy Guevarra is a graduate student in history.