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Complaints about sex offender in neighborhood prompts councilwoman to raise concerns

By Billie Owens

Rose Mary Christian is mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore, at least not if she has anything to say about allowing registered sex offenders to live a block away from an elementary school, and just a few doors down from a church.

At the end of tonight's 25-minute session of the Batavia City Council, she announced there would be a public forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 16 to discuss the issue of registered sex offenders in the city. It will be a question-and-answer with Police Chief Randy Baker and Det. Rich Schauf, held at the police station.

She says she's received a number of calls and an anonymous letter regarding Charles H. Wroten, who lives at 214 S. Swan St., upper. Some nearby residents want him gone and they want to know what can and can't be done in this regard.

Christian asked the city attorney to look into the zoning laws concerning registered sex offenders.

"As far as I know there's not much we can do about it," Christian said, adding that she spoke with the landlady about her tenant and the woman did not seem amenable to kicking Wroten out without cause.

Can they put up lawn signs saying "Charlie Wroten must go"? or how about a banner that says "A convicted rapist lives here and he needs to get out ASAP"? And on and on.

"Landlords should have it on the contract...ask whether they've ever been arrested," Christian said, at least they'd know whether the person lied and broke the contract.

She claims there are 161 "sick" registered sex offenders countywide and 150,000 in the state.

As for Wroten, he couldn't be reached for comment. The lights were on in his nondescript white, two-story duplex unit. The door was open, but the glass outer door was locked. No one answered the loud knock at 8:45 p.m.

His crime is public record, easily available online. He is described as a bald, black male, 245 pounds, 6 feet tall, born Feb. 16, 1961. He was convicted, at age 38, on May 17, 2000 of rape in the 3rd degree of a 15-year-old girl. It is a Level 3 offense, the highest level for such a felony. He was sentenced to 18 months to three years and Christian said he served 18 months.

Christian brought up the highly publicized California case of high school senior Chelsea King who was raped, murdered and found March 2 buried in a shallow grave along Lake Hodges in North San Diego County. The DNA of convicted rapist John Albert Gardner III was found in her underwear and he is in jail after pleading not guilty in the case. He lives in the vicinity of the crime. In a nearby community, Amber Dubois disappeared early last year after last seen walking to Escondido High School. Her remains were found this week 25 miles east of the school. Law enforcement is working to determine if the cases are linked.

In any event, the specter of having sex offenders living near children is upsetting to many residents.

"We have small kids around here, and I have five grandkids," said Wroten's next door neighbor, John Butler, who lives in a house with his wife, Mary, and rents from Rose Mary Christian.

"If he even looks at one of my grandkids, I'm going to jail because I'm going to bury him," John Butler said matter-of-factly.

The couple is openly nosy about Wroten and keep an eagle eye on him. They note there are three children living just downstairs from him. They claim a woman dropped off a little boy at Wroten's house this afternoon at about 4:20 and they wondered if that's legal (even if it's the rapist's child).

But living on the other side of Wroten, Carissa and Chad Helsdon take a more cautious, don't-tread-on-me approach. They have three small children.

"I was uncomfortable at first, but he hasn't come down over here and we haven't had any problems with him," Carissa Helsdon said. "He keeps to himself."


Note that I'm not taking any sides here. I'm simply playing Devil's advocate and making a point.

I'm 21 years old. Minus a few minor traffic violations, I've never been convicted of a crime. I've been hit on by 15 year old girls I could've sworn that were 18 or 19, though, it never went beyond harmless flirting. Mind you, I found out the true ages after the fact.

It's entirely possible this Mr. Wroten is the victim here, since it seems public opinion feels the opposite.

Mar 8, 2010, 10:41pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

The state record says: "Force used: Chemical agent." It's not like this was mistaken consensual sex. He was 38. She was 15. To a degree, yes, we don't know the actual circumstances, but those facts are less than exculpatory.

Mar 8, 2010, 11:04pm Permalink
Gary Spencer

The "sex offender web site" (for lack of better terms) makes it very clear that persons should not use that information to harass people who are on that list. Posting signs on their yard is harassment (and Mr. Butler would be wise to be careful with the veiled threats). I do believe that Batavia (and other communities) need to have laws on the books in regards to where sex offenders can live (e.i. how many feet from parks and schools etc.). However, having said that I think the REAL problem is the court system and the penal system letting sex offenders out of jail with only light sentences(or not giving them jail at all) I think the jail sentences need to be MUCH longer and most sex offenders (if the victim is under a given age) should be on life time parole, this way the first time they screw up, they can go back for life.

Mar 9, 2010, 8:24am Permalink
Sheryl Smigelski

I really don't want to open a can of worms with this statement but I know people who live in Batavia who are in denial about sexual predators. They think it can't happen in a small town like Batavia, well here's the proof. One particular person doesn't believe things like that happen here. We are not immune to the diseased people of the world. She lets her 13 year old son wander the streets by himself. I honestly believe she's so naive that she thinks no one will touch him. I pray no one does (especially since he's my stepson). We can protect our children and grandchildren by monitoring the activities they are involved with, both in school and at home. My children are not allowed on the internet without me being right over their shoulder. It is the age we live in, my mother didn't let me wander all over the place when I was a child, she kept an eye on me. We can't protect our children from everything, but we can sure as hell monitor what they are doing, Who, what, where, and what time are going to be home? Those are the words I heard as a child. We can't just let everyone else do the work in raising our children, it is our responsiblity as parents to protect them from those people who want to hurt them or can't help themselves from hurting them. As I said we can't protect them from everything, but it might make someone think twice about trying to get at them if we are standing right there.

Mar 9, 2010, 1:03pm Permalink

Big Black Man...If this was a 48 yr. old White Woman who has a record for being with a teenage boy you would not be getting all foamed up at the mouth like you are with this Wroten man...Personally ---I hope to pass him on the street to see how his demeanor really is...I hope I spelled demeanor correctly...

Mar 9, 2010, 4:30pm Permalink
Bea McManis

Posted by BILLY GALLIFORD on March 9, 2010 - 4:30pm
Big Black Man...If this was a 48 yr. old White Woman who has a record for being with a teenage boy you would not be getting all foamed up at the mouth like you are with this Wroten man...Personally ---I hope to pass him on the street to see how his demeanor really is...I hope I spelled demeanor correctly...

Sorry, Billy, but regardless if the person is a man or woman; black, white, or green with yellow spots; that person is guilty of a serious crime.
Abusing children is not acceptable and those who do should be on a watch list. Granted, they should have a place to live and receive appropriate counseling, but it shouldn't be near schools or other areas where children congregate.
Attempting to make it a gender or race issue is bogus. You are the second person in about a week who can judge people by their demeanor (you) and another by looking into someone's eyes.
Once again, I've known people with wonderful manners; well bred; good eyes; all around perfect humans who have turned out to be snakes. You can't possibly judge a book by it's cover.

Mar 9, 2010, 5:30pm Permalink

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