February 13, 2015

Blue Grass woman finds her own address on sex offender registry, used without her knowledge

2-13-15 Iowa:

We hear about the sex offender registry when there is a change in the law or a big compliance check. But does it really hold offenders accountable? A Blue Grass woman says, not as much as you might expect. And her story hits close to home.

She lives in an established neighborhood with nice houses fronted by big yards. You wouldn’t think a sex offender lived there. And as far as we know, one doesn’t. But for a little while this winter, Stefanie Mucha’s Valley View Drive house was listed on the sex offender registry. “It’s been devastating,” she says, telling us it’s affected her personally and professionally.

Mucha trains dogs for a living. “Especially with bully breeds,” she tells us, “There’s a baseline of trust and it is a very tight knit community.” So when she saw a Facebook post from a fellow dog rescuer, saying she was stranded at a local Walmart, Mucha says she reached out to the woman and her husband and son. “So for one night, I offered a shower, hot meal and that was about it.” She didn’t know the son, Troy Deroin, was a convicted sex offender. Or that he’d used her address to register.

Scott County Sheriff’s Officers say they didn’t know either, until weeks later. Detective Thomas Leonard tells us, “I got a phone call from family member in the southern United States. I believe it was from Georgia.” He followed up on the complaint. And while the Blue Grass house is legal under the 2-Thousand Foot Rule, the fact that Deroin did not report Mucha lives there, is not.

And it’s a fact Leonard says, without that phone call, might not have been discovered for months. His agency, along with others, does a big Sex Offender Sweep once a year. “In October, we make for sure that they’re there. And then throughout the year, there’s random checks that we do, but we may not find it until that point.” He says it’s a manpower issue. There are a half dozen detectives in his bureau and 353 registered sex offenders living in Scott County.

“Most of these sex offenders are compliant,” he says. “There is a small, less than 10% of them are the ones you really have to watch after.” But his teams can’t always do that. Instead he says, officers count on those convicted of crimes to tell the truth, and count on our community to help police sex offenders. “I don’t get how they take them at their word,” Mucha says. She says more needs to be done, not only for herself as she moves forward, but also for other families in the future.

Detective Leonard tells us a warrant has been issued for Troy Deroin. Officers believe he is in Texas, but they do not have an address for him. He is not listed on that state’s sex offender registry. ..Source.. by Elizabeth Goodsitt

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