A sex offender moves in, and I make bread

Yesterday I received an email a Level 2 sex offender moved into our neighborhood. I couldn’t sleep. I’ve always felt safe where we live. I leave our garage door open during a trip to the park, and let our 5-year-old walk a half block to his friend’s home. And while I always feel low level anxiety about our kids’ safety, I’ve reassured myself with statistics like the crime rate in America being where it was in the early ‘70s, and sound bytes like, “We were fine.”

But now I’ve got a face to put to my anxiety, a name, a mug shot. And I wonder if that is good or bad. Knowing will change my behavior somewhat: we’ll keep our garage door shut from now on. But I’m not sure I want my knowledge to affect how I parent my kids (he targeted adult women + was a pimp. Lovely.). Because I don’t think kids learn independence with adults hovering.

And it seems to me the risk that comes to our kids is not from strangers but adults we trust and know. In Minnesota this year, there were three separate high profile cases involving a prominent businessman, an attorney, and an ex-police chief, as well as priests. If somebody you know and love is hurting your kids, how can they tell you if you’ve labeled that adult as “safe”?

And if your child does get lost, statistically speaking, my guess is the person you should fear is the one who approaches them, not who they seek out for help. How can they do that if they fear strangers?

What do you think?

As for me, there’s nothing better than pounding dough to get a little anxiety out. My house is about to be overrun by preschoolers who can be picky eaters when together. But bread never fails to please, and these can be whipped up in under an hour.

Crusty Dinner Rolls, adapted from Simple Daily Recipes:

  • 1 package quick-acting active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cup lukewarm milk
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • coarse salt (optional)

Mix together milk, yeast and sugar. When dissolved, stir in flour, honey, garlic powder, salt and olive oil. Cover with a damp warm towel and let sit on counter for at least an hour.

Roll into one inch balls, and press three into each muffin tin.

Brush with butter; sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 350 for 14 – 16 minutes until lightly browned.

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14. April 2010 by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson
Categories: Food, Home Building | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 comments

Comments (13)

  1. We just got our SECOND Level THREE sex offender in our town.
    It gives me a stomach ache just typing that out loud…
    I am trying so hard to find a balance between letting my kids be kids (and be carefree like we once were) and keeping them safe while not being a hovering parent…

    If only those convicted of crimes faced steeper/harsher penalties…administered by those who were hurt by said offenders actions….
    HA HA!

    Being aware is key – all else will fall into place –

  2. Well, I would be freaked out!~! But I always take it to the next insane level and just assume that they are already living here and just arent caught yet.

    (terrible segway here)

    Great looking buns! :)


  3. I thought this post was going to say that you took the sex offender the bread you made.

  4. In your neighborhood? Wow. M’s school is getting ready to have a program with the kindergarten kids about just that topic. I read the permission slip and thought, how can my baby know about these things? A better question is, how can she not know? Sad to take away some of their innocence but necessary.

  5. how do i get on these lists, to be emailed when one moves in??

  6. Even if I didn’t read your blog, I love your pictures. They truly are worth a thousand words. You have a great eye!

  7. Many people say sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated. However, the Texas State Auditor in 2007 released a report showing that sex offenders who completed the Texas Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) were 61% LESS LIKELY to commit a new crime. That seems to show promise. (See “An Audit Report on Selected Rehabilitation Programs at the Department of Criminal Justice.” Texas State Auditor. March 2007. Report No. 07-026. Retrieved Oct 20, 2009. http://www.sao.state.tx.us/reports/main/07-026.html.)

    After all, in 2002, the US Dept. of Justice reported that only 5% of sex offenders released in 1994 returned to prison for a new sex crime. (See US Dept of Justice Report on Sex Offender Recidivism http://shortn.me/xXJ.)

  8. To add to what Sam said, keep in mind that sex offenders can end up on that registry for some very ridiculous things. For example: 18 year-olds that get caught having sex with their 17 year-old boyfriends get on that list. So do people who get busted for “watering a tree” in public. Or women who show their breasts at a local Mardi Gras celebration. Maybe not something you want your kid to do, but not something to get all stressed about. The laws need to be changed to be a LOT more realistic as to what is considered to be a bad enough sex offense to require lifelong registration and having everyone who cares to look at a website know about what you got busted for 20 years ago, too.

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  12. Jennifer,

    I am sorry that you are feeling as conflicted as you do with regard to a registered sex offender moving into your neighborhood. As the media liaison for the Sex Offender Solutions and Education Network (SOSEN.org on the net), we have been educating people from all parts of society with regard to issues regarding sex offenders in the communities.

    The fact you had a sleepless night, and are now feeling pangs of anxiety, is indicative of our current level of paranoia. Obviously, you yourself have knowledge of rational laws with regard to crime statistics. In addition, I’m sure that you DO know that you are unaware of former felons who have committed violence are located in the community. I’m sure if there was a registry of gang members or anyone who used violence, you would be just as scared.

    Obviously, the facts show that your children are statistically just as safe than if the RSO didnt’ move in. We have Department of Justice statistics, law enforcement statistics, prosecuting attorney’s statistics, and other statistics from reputable, NON-criminal-friendly organizations that prove such a fact.

    But this does nothing to allay any fears you have. To that end, my suggestion is this: Go with another adult, preferably a male, and visit the RSO. Make sure that your visit is done in pursuit of putting a human face to that of the mugshot you saw in your email. He is probably living with his OWN family, and in fact the RSO is probably doing everything he can to readjust back to society.

    In fact, it is our experience at SOSEN that the GREATEST threat is community FEAR of the RSO’s presence, and NOT the actual threat of the RSO to their children. This sounds like I’m saying the same thing, but I’m not. The plain fact is if you know the person, and you become knowledgable, the RSO becomes LESS of a threat and give you peace of mind that you are missing.

    Please consider my request. Understand that the alternative, banishment from neighborhoods, only adds to the overall DANGER to the community as a whole by not allowing for societal reintregation of a population that, as a whole, are the most scrutinized and collectively despised non-incarcerated people in the history of the United States. That alone is more scary than the actual threat they present.

  13. I read this post and the comments that go with it. I hate that all RSO are tagged immediatly without people actually trying to figure out what happened. My fiancee went to prison when he was only 17 years old. Remember now the age in the US for buying ciggarettes and enlisting in the army is 18. He wasnt even able to do either. He was a Sophmore in highschool because he went to pre 1st after kindergarden and had to retake his sophmore year bc he missed passing by two credits. He met a girl. She told him she was 15 fixing to be 16. They dated…. n did other things apparently. Then they broke up. N guess what she didnt like that two much called the cops told them she was really only 14 and bam. He goes to prison and is now considered a Sex Offender. Do u believe that falls into the sex offender catagory? Or that he is a danger to children? I dont and neither do alot of people. She even admited on the stand that she consented to everything and that she lied to him about her age. And they still sent him away. So please Dont judge someone before you find out WHY they are on a list. Bc you never know like heather said it could be simply because they took a leak in public.

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