Last week, my wife and I took an evening stroll through the walkways of West Campus Family Student Housing. Although Halloween is in the air, most of the neighborhood porches were bare. Bicycles and shoes were strewn over places usually reserved for jack-o’-lanterns and fake cobwebs. That is, save for one disturbing exception. One graduate student decided to buck the trend and celebrate by decorating his front porch with an illuminated, three-foot-tall inflatable Tigger in a cape and Halloween garb. A lighted pumpkin decoration hung from a post and neat cutouts of ghosts and skulls were taped to the door. We paused to consider the display and realized to our horror that the tenant was none other than a convicted pedophile.
To bring you up to speed on this subject, we have to rewind to two years ago when the police knocked on our door and provided us a photograph of Victor Sciortino, a convicted pedophile cum UCSB physics graduate student who moved into West Campus Family Student Housing. There was a brief outcry from residents. Sciortino did a television interview, indignant that the neighbors would take issue with his presence. He said he would “lay low and let it blow over,” and blow over it did. Two years have passed since the tenant meeting with officials from Housing & Residential Services and the UCSB Police Dept. Meanwhile, apartment units have quietly changed hands as some students graduate while others matriculate.
We paused in front of the display and contemplated the many scary things that can happen on Halloween. As a young candy goblin, I feared an evil trick of razor blades in my Snickers bars. During my college days, I was afraid the police would end our party prematurely and slap us with a $500 ticket. Alas, these fears have subsided and in their place is a large, inflatable Tigger beckoning children to the door to ask for treats from a man who once forced a small child to give him oral pleasure (http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/).
Does the notion of pedophiles erecting elaborate Halloween displays in Family Student Housing make you sick? What can a UCSB student do about this? Unfortunately, Housing and Residential Services Housing & Residential Services is too afraid of abridging Sciortino’s rights to even politely suggest a move to a comparable unit elsewhere in the university housing system. However, there is hope. This election there is a proposition on the ballot that would prevent pedophiles from living in Family Student Housing. Vote YES on Proposition 83.