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Are Children at Risk if Rehabilitated Sex Offender Released Into Community?
Aired August 18, 2003 - 19:31 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Brian Devries' attorney, Brian Matthews, joins us from San Jose, California.
Also joining us from Soledad, the community organizer, Jocelyn Scott.
Good evening to both of you and thanks for being with us.
BRIAN MATTHEWS, ATTY. FOR BRIAN DEVRIES: Good evening.
JOCELYN SCOTT, COMMUNITY ORGANIZER: Good evening.
KAGAN: Ms. Scott, I'm going to ahead and start with you. You have been one of the more vocal voices in the Soledad community, claim that you don't want Brian Devries to live there. What scares you the most about having him in your community?
SCOTT: Well, what scares me the most is -- besides the fact he's a new species of predators -- this is an experiment by the Department of the Mental Health. And twice they've come out to two separate community meetings and they cannot unequivocally say that he won't re- offend.
KAGAN: Let's look at a couple of facts here.
One, you already live in a prison town where half of the citizens are prisoners. This is a man who's gone to extraordinary lengths, including going through castration and going through an extensive program to try to rehabilitate himself. The judge himself points out that there are 58 other sexual offenders living in the zip code of Soledad, California. So why pick on Brian Devries?
SCOTT: OK, well let's go back.
First of all, that's true. We do have a prison and most of our offenders -- in fact, when you mention 58 predators or sexual offenders they're locked up in the prison. So we feel pretty safe with that.
There are four that are low-level sexual offenders. For example, maybe an 18-year-old boy was with his 17-year-old girlfriend. That doesn't make me afraid.
However, Brian Devries, as I understand it, is a gentleman who has broken the trust and admitted breaking the trust and molesting and violating 50 boys, you know, maybe more. And that does have me concerned. And also, you know, he's been rehabilitated several times. So I'm not convinced, based on two meetings by the Department of Mental Health, that he would not offend again.
And then the last part is you mentioned castration.
KAGAN: Let me just -- let me just jump in there because our time is short. I want to off of that point and bring Brian Matthews in.
KAGAN: The point is you cannot tell Jocelyn Scott and the people of Soledad that your client will not molest another young boy. You cannot promise that.
MATTHEWS: Well, clearly, no one can promise 100 percent that Brian cannot reoffend. But he's as close to that as we're going to get. He's going to be the most heavily supervised person the state of California has ever seen. His sex drive has been reduced to almost nothing and everyone will know that he is there. His pattern of offending was getting to know mothers.
SCOTT: Could I interject about his monitoring team?
KAGAN: Doc, let me put another question to you. The man has to live somewhere. The man has to live somewhere. All these landlords have said you're not living if my house. Not only do you have to figure out what to do with Brian Devrie -- and not necessarily you in particular, but the state of California -- but he is the first of 400 people going through this rehabilitation program and will eventually come out. Where are these people supposed to go?
SCOTT: OK, and those are good questions.
First, with his monitoring team, I would say the closest person -- physical person on his monitoring team is in San Jose, California, which is 100 miles away. That's really far if he has a relapse in the middle of the night.
The second piece is where to put them. You know, the Department of Mental Health had seven years to prepare him for society, but they didn't prepare society for him. And there's a lot of models out there, you know, such as in Spokane, Washington, where they house sexual offenders together and then they monitor each other. So I think there's a lot of things and it's clear that the Department of Mental Health just -- with all their training in psychology should have understood the impact to people.
KAGAN: Fair point. Brian, let's bring new here for one more point. Where is he going to go? And where will the other 400 offenders who are going through a similar program -- where will they eventually live?
MATTHEWS: Well, I would anticipate a lot of them won't get out. In fact, only 20 percent are actually participating in treatment. My hope is that Brian will succeed and that it will become easier to place these people in the community after they've been treated.
KAGAN: All right. Well, it's still a big problem for California and other communities across the country. Appreciate both of you. Brian Matthews, Jocelyn Scott, thank you for joining us from California this evening. Appreciate it.
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