For Ellen Isaly, some sex offenders are just beyond hope.
“Next to murder, it’s the most abhorrent crime there is,” the Fort Collins resident said of violent sex offenses. “It’s my understanding, living as long as I have, the rehabilitation of a sexual offender just doesn’t work.”
Isaly was one of 80 community members in attendance Wednesday night as police and city officials held an informational meeting on the presence of a sexually violent predator in Fort Collins.
Jeramiah Nathanial Houston was convicted in 2001 of having sex with three girls aged 13 and 14.
He was released from prison in October, and has been living in a Fort Collins halfway house.
“The community has a vested interest in helping the offender be successfully managed,” said Mike Rais, Houston’s case manager at Larimer County Community Corrections. “Harrassment is counter-productive.”
Police warned that any vigilante behavior toward Houston or his family would be dealt with harshly.
Several conditions were placed on Houston. He can’t have contact with the victims, their families, or anyone under 18. Also, he must submit to periodical polygraph tests, put in a daily call to his probation officer, and sign in and out of the halfway house, located at 2255 Midpoint Drive.
Even transportation and mobility will be closely monitored.
Houston, 26, won’t be able to ride city buses since children use them, and will also be tracked with GPS.
“Mr. Houston has been scrutinized more than anyone in this community has,” said Tom Hulse, Houston’s probation officer, reassuring the crowd.
Police said Houston was at a high risk to re-offend.
He showed a pattern of enticing young girls who were runaways or had emotional problems, police say.
Houston was also convicted of menacing, possession of a dangerous weapon, theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
According to Colorado law, the community must be made aware when someone deemed a “sexually violent predator” is released.
A bulletin distributed by Fort Collins Police Services states that Fort Collins currently has 185 registered sex offenders, and two of those have been classified as “sexually violent predators.”
Liz Hatch, a victim’s advocate for FCPS, spoke of the damage done to sexual assault victims. Effects of sex assault include everything from suicidal thoughts and depression to marital problems and substance abuse, she said.
But the harm, she added, “is minimized when the victim is believed and supported.”
Meanwhile, Isaly has no sympathy for sexual predators.
“He just needs to be warehoused,” she said, with a soft voice but wide-eyed. “Am I being naive or are the laws not strong enough?”
Managing editor Vimal Patel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.