I wonder what the elders in his new congregation are thinking? Will he be going door to door? I wonder what good PR that will generate for the WTS?
Details sealed on sex predator's new Contra Costa home
Location of where Cary Verse will live is being kept secret Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer Thursday, February 5, 2004
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As early as today, Cary Verse may become the state's second sexually violent predator to be released into the community. But a Contra Costa County judge has ordered details about his new home sealed, and even Verse said Wednesday that he doesn't know where he's going.
"It's a big secret for everyone right now. I hope whatever community I live in will give me a chance to prove myself," Verse, 33, told The Chronicle in a telephone interview from Atascadero State Prison in San Luis Obispo County.
In contrast to the release of notorious child molester Brian DeVries in August on the grounds of a Monterey County prison, state officials have refused to provide Verse's new address in advance, thwarting attempts by police and residents to prepare for any security concerns.
"There is no redeeming value to keep a community in suspense when the address will eventually be known," Martinez Vice Mayor Mark Ross said Wednesday. "If this is so safe, why is it so secret?"
Contra Costa Superior Court Judge John Minney, who had cleared Verse's release and asked authorities to find him housing, ordered details of Verse's new home withheld from the public last week. The judge said prospective housing for DeVries and Verse, who initially found housing in Martinez, fell through because of community outrage sparked by news reports.
Under the state's Megan's Law, Verse will be required within five days of his release to register as a sex offender with his local law enforcement agency, which could then notify neighbors without giving his address. The public could search the Megan's Law database from police agencies across the state, using his last name to find out which ZIP code he lives in.
Verse has a history of sex crimes, most recently the 1992 sexual assault of a man at a homeless shelter in Richmond. A consultant hired by his attorney has reportedly found Verse a place to live.
Upon his release, Verse must also undergo outpatient treatment, drug and lie-detector testing, wear a satellite tracking bracelet
and submit freely to searches.
Verse, a Jehovah's Witness who has previously indicated he would like to live in Martinez to be close to a place of worship for his faith, maintained Wednesday that he is no longer a danger to anyone.
"I take every precaution to make sure it never happens again," said Verse, citing therapy, religion and his chemical castration several years ago. "I just want to start over again and live a Christian life.''
His mother, Tonnie Verse of Oakland, agreed Wednesday, saying, "He wants to make choices in life and try to be a benefit to society."
Under state law, dangerous predators can be held as mental patients after their prison sentence. About 450 participants are in the state's treatment program for sexually violent predators, and six other men are awaiting release into the community, usually in the county where they were convicted, said Nora Romero, spokeswoman for the state Department of Mental Health.
Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder said the sex-predator treatment program "seems to be a good program right up to the point of release." Schroder said he believes the city has been left in the dark. "It is imperative that we have adequate notification of where Mr. Verse is residing."
Martinez Police Chief Dave Cutaia said had he not been shut out of the process, he would have been able to research the area where a sex offender would be placed and determine its suitability. "Who knows their jurisdiction better than the chief law-enforcement officer of that jurisdiction?" Cutaia said.
"I see both sides of it," said Nancy O'Malley, Alameda County chief assistant district attorney and chairwoman of the sexual assault committee of the California District Attorneys Association.
"I understand the need to protect people who are being released in the community and, at the same time, I very much understand that people in the community want to know who these sex offenders are so they can keep their families and children safe," she said.
E-mail Henry K. Lee at [email protected].