Because of the persistence of Donna Zink, we can now know the names of the 21,000 Level 1 sex offenders in Washington state, including 582 Level 1 sex offenders here in Benton and Franklin Counties. These are the individuals that children reported, who were reported to authorities, who were investigated and then, based on the evidence, who were charged.
To then qualify as Level 1, these 21,000 were determined not to have exhibited predatory type characteristics; they participated in, or are participating in approved treatment programs. And they reported themselves as first-time offenders. They’re not a risk, authorities determined.
If, as the attorney representing 20 of those Level 1 offenders suggests, their marriages and friendships could be destroyed by the release of this information, this raises the issue of sex offenders keeping their criminal history a secret from spouses and friends.
In fact, if these Level 1’s were to tell us, “I don’t want to hurt another child. Check in on me as I put our child to bed. Notice if I seem to be contriving to spend alone time with a child.” Would we do this for the adults we care about?
Lynn Crook, Richland