Does Megan’s Law Put A Scarlet Letter On A Sex Offender’s Former Address?

LA PUENTE (CBSLA) —Does the Megan’s Law website actually hurt some homeowners or renters?

A La Puente woman says it does and that she has become the target of vandals. CBS2’s Randy Paige investigated and discovered a loophole in the law that could put future homeowners and renters at risk.

It was a clear case of vandalism, green paint splattered on the garage door, shards of broken glass on the driveway from the windows shattered on the van parked in the driveway. An attack on the home Irene Zendano inherited from her grandmother. The home she grew up in.

“When I first saw the garage, I was scared; I couldn’t believe what happened,” Zendano said. “I spent at least 20 years in this room, a lot of memories. A lot of memories in here.”

Zendano says she dreamed of one day bringing her husband and daughter here to create another generation of childhood dreams.

“I started crying because I was looking forward to having my daughter create new memories and pick up pretty much where I left off and it was heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking that I can’t have her in here,” Zendano said.

Zendano, who is a flight attendant, says after her grandmother died, she rented the home to a cousin until she could make the arrangements to move her family here from New York.

Then, she says she learned her cousin’s husband, Corrie Archer, is a convicted sex offender. And she discovered her home was listed on the Megan’s Law website as the residence of a sex offender.

She says she demanded they leave and as Archer was preparing to move out, her home and Archer’s van were vandalized.

“I was scared because even though he’s been evicted now, I’m a target for my family, anything could happen. They could still come and vandalize the house and my daughter could come home from school and something could happen to her.”

It took two weeks for Archer’s address to be changed on the website. CBS2 news has learned it can take up to a year when an offender moves out, because sex offenders are required to check in to verify their address every  year on their birthday.

And even when they don’t check in, they are shown as being “in violation” but it still lists their last reported address on the sex-offender registry website.

“This is outrageous; it’s like putting a scarlet letter on a home or an apartment building,” Zendano said.

Jamie Court is president of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Consumer Watchdog in Santa Monica.

“If your home is seen as a sex offender’s home, you’re much more likely to be vandalized, you’re much more likely to be socially ostracized,” Court said. “And believe me, the people who will discriminate against you because they think you’re a sex offender will never tell you. They’ll either show up in the middle of the night and break the windows of your car or they won’t let you into the college or the club that you should get into.”

The state-run website isn’t the only place your home can be identified as the residence of a sex offender.

A website called Homefacts continues to show Irene Zendano’s address as Corrie Archer’s home, even using the same photograph, weeks after Megan’s Law updated his address to a Motel 6 in Hacienda Heights.

“The companies that are profiting by scraping a Megan’s list websit, and then marking a property forever as the home of a sex offender so it can’t be sold, it can’t be rented, and it makes the neighborhood less desirable, are guilty, too,” Court said.

Zendano is now trying to sell her home, knowing it is still being identified on the internet as the home of a sex offender. She has this message for the California Department of Justice, which runs the Megan’s Law website:

“You have to stay on top of it. You have to make changes; you have to do something, because this is horrible. This has changed my life, making me a victim and a target.”

Comments

One Comment

  1. It isn’t a ‘loophole” in the law, reporter. It is a reason why the registry should NOT exist. Talk about blaming the victim. YOU, the media, is part of the problem.

  2. Will Allen says:

    I really hope that the SEX Offender Registries (SORs) gravely harm people who support them. We need to encourage that. Studies have shown that they do lower the home values near a listed home. That is a great thing that people do take advantage of. There are people making money off of it.

    The SORs are unnecessary and negligibly beneficial. They don’t protect anyone. Experts never have and never will support them. Politicians always will. Uninformed people almost always will. They need to be destroyed.

    In the meantime, let’s all embrace the hatred and help it grow. There is no need to be concerned about your neighbors. People who support the SORs are not our fellow Americans.

  3. You do realize, Ms. Zedano, that you violated 290.46(L) by evicting your cousin from home. You are not allowed to evict someone based solely on their status as a 290 registrant.

    1. Will Allen says:

      silentnomore0413:

      Just FYI, her name is Zendano. If what you say is true then surely there was no legal eviction. The article is not completely clear about it. The article does say, “She says she demanded they leave”. I expect that alone could be breaking the law. They should try to take action against her.

      A landlord could surely just *ask* a Registered family to leave but no Registered family should ever be concerned about any request from anyone who supports the SEX Offender Registries (SORs). People who support the SORs are harassing terrorists who cannot mind their own business or leave other people alone. So there should never be any concern for them or anything they desire.

  4. Vicki Henry says:

    Once again the public learns the registry is so out of control that those who are supposed to manage it “openly acknowledge” they cannot handle it.

    According to the NCMEC map there are over 861,837 men, women and children (as young as 8 and 10 in some states) required to register and the “crimes” range from urinating in public (indecent exposure), sexting, incest, mooning, exposure, false accusations by a soon-to-be ex-wife, angry girlfriend, or spiteful student, viewing abusive OR suggestive images of anyone 18 years old or younger, playing doctor, prostitution, solicitation, Romeo and Juliet consensual sexual dating relationships, rape, endangering the welfare of a child, the old bate-n-switch internet stings (taking sometimes 12 months before a person steps over the line) guys on the autism spectrum or with intellectual disabilities and many others.

    If you multiply the number on the registry by 2 or 3 family members you can clearly see there are well over 3 million wives, children, moms, aunts, girlfriends, grandmothers and other family members who experience the collateral damage of being murdered, harassed, threatened, children beaten, have signs placed in their yards, homes set on fire, vehicles damaged, asked to leave their churches and other organizations, children passed over for educational opportunities, have flyers distributed around their neighborhood, wives lose their jobs when someone learns they are married to a registrant….all these things occur when these people try to hold their family together and provide the three things that professionals state are needed for successful re-integration; a job, a place to live and a good support system. Residency restrictions, ranging from 500 ft to 2,500 ft are ludicrous and not supported by ATSA.
    The Supreme Court’s Crucial Mistake About Sex Crime Statistics – ‘Frightening and High’ (Debunks the 80% recidivism rate cited by now SCOTUS Justice Kennedy)

    It is very important that you read the abstract below and then the full 12 page essay by Ira Mark and Tara Ellman.
    ABSTRACT This brief essay reveals that the sources relied upon by the Supreme Court in Smith v. Doe, a heavily cited constitutional decision on sex offender registries, in fact provide no support at all for the facts about sex offender re-offense rates that the Court treats as central to its constitutional conclusions. This misreading of the social science was abetted in part by the Solicitor General’s misrepresentations in the amicus brief it filed in this case. The false “facts” stated in the opinion have since been relied upon repeatedly by other courts in their own constitutional decisions, thus infecting an entire field of law as well as policy making by legislative bodies. Recent decisions by the Pennsylvania and California supreme courts establish principles that would support major judicial reforms of sex offender registries, if they were applied to the actual facts. This paper appeared in Constitutional Commentary Fall, 2015.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Papers.cfm?abstract_id=2616429
    A study reviewing sex crimes as reported to police revealed that:
    a) 93% of child sexual abuse victims knew their abuser;
    b) 34.2% were family members;
    c) 58.7% were acquaintances;
    d) Only 7% of the perpetrators of child victims were strangers;
    e) 40% of sexual assaults take place in the victims own home;
    f) 20% take place in the home of a friend, neighbor or relative (Jill Levenson, PhD, Lynn University)

    The public needs to decide if they want to continue to focus on those who, for the most part, are onetime offenders or if they see a greater need to fund programs like “Stop It Now” that teaches about grooming behaviors and other things in their Circles of Safety.

    Women Against Registry ~ Fighting the Destruction of Families

  5. If Mrs. Zendano fears for the safety of her child and family, should there not be trepidation for the significant number of children and family members who reside in some of the 800,000 plus homes listed on the public sex offender register? Guess lawmakers and the public who support the public registry did not consider this when implementing the civil regulatory scheme of public sex offender registration.

  6. Eric Knight says:

    First, it must be noted that Zandano’s cousin’s husband, the registered sex offender, did NOTHING wrong. He duly reported his residence as required by law. For that, he got his van vandalized, which typically in such incidents usually cost around $500 to rectify as insurance rarely covers such damage.

    The only reason that this is news is because Zandano is NOT a registered sex offender, but the husband of her relative. In fact, over 40% of all registrants whose addresses are listed on Megans Law websites are vandalized with at least $50 per year. Police departments, for the most part, don’t expend the resources to investigate such vandalism because even if they catch the perpetrator, the negative reaction the public responds to the fact that the cops are helping a registered sex offender usually results in someone losing their job.

    If the news staff would even care to follow up on this story, they will find the similar statistics at various law enforcement agencies who are in the jurisdiction of registered sex offenders. The bottom line is that the registry was allowed ONLY because it was supposed to be STRICTLY regulatory, and advisory to the public that did not entail any punitive effects to the registrant. As proven here, the result of the registry caused Zendano to FEAR FOR HER LIFE. Let’s be blunt: THAT FEAR IS FELT EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY BY WOMEN AND CHILDREN whom are family members of registrants.

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