CA Sex Offender Restrictions Forces Rapist To Riverbed

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Habitual sex offender Ross Wollschlager has bounced from one California hotel to another in the weeks since his release from a state mental hospital, getting ejected each time the owner learned of his identity, reports the Los Angeles Times. Publicity about his release has made it impossible for the convicted rapist, 44, to find a rural landlord willing to give him a place to live. After seven evictions, a San Diego company hired by the state to help him resettle, gave him a tent and he began living on a bottom. He is overseen by a taxpayer-funded guard who stays in a vehicle nearby.

Wollschlager’s predicament has reignited debate on whether strict new laws governing sex offenders are making it harder to monitor them. Jessica’s Law, passed overwhelmingly by voters last fall, bars Wollschlager from living within 2,000 feet — about half a mile — of any school, park or beach. He wears two monitoring devices on his ankle and shuttles between his campsite and a friend’s home each day. “It’s harder to protect the public when he is homeless,” said Margaret Coyle, a county prosecutor who opposed Wollschlager’s release. On Friday, the state notified 2,741 sex offenders, who were paroled after Nov. 8, 2006, that they were in violation of housing restrictions mandated by Jessica’s Law. The parolees now have 45 days to comply. A report titled “No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the United States,” scheduled for release this week by the nonprofit group Human Rights Watch, is expected to be critical of such laws and policies and to urge state and federal reforms, including the elimination of residency restrictions.

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-offender8sep08,0,4562274.story?coll=la-home-center

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