McCroskey Commentary: The Problem of Where to House Sex Offenders Won’t Be Going Away


In May, some citizens and city officials in Chehalis learned of a home housing five sex offenders in a residential neighborhood in Chehalis. It was no surprise it caused a reaction and comments from both sides.

From the state’s perspective, these offenders do have to be housed somewhere. Courts said so, and no one will want them next door. As a parent and grandparent, I certainly would not want that either.

The property manager suggests that the offenses these guys are convicted of “shouldn’t stop them from getting housing” and it’s a “morality thing” and “everyone deserves a place to live.”

Chehalis Police Chief Glenn Schafer offered that he isn’t comfortable with so many sex offenders in one place.

Scott Albert, with DOC, asked “is the community better off if they are homeless?” and goes on to offer his answer that they are safer if the offenders have some place to go.

I think they all have a point.

But as they say in the real estate business, location, location, location. Maybe a residential neighborhood isn’t a good or appropriate location? In fact, I believe it’s a bad location.

This isn’t a new problem: What to do with these guys when they finish their sentences will continue to be a problem. Some of the worst can be committed, but the rest are generally among us. I say “worst” but the offenders housed in Chehalis are pretty bad actors; rape of a child, luring with sexual motivation, child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, indecent liberties and failure to register as a sex offender. It’s hard to believe there are worse, but at least in a legal sense, there are. Neighbors to this house are understandably concerned.

And that’s just what these five have been convicted of. It’s becoming clearer there are many more we don’t yet know about, who also are out there. That’s scary too.

Chehalis has concluded its zoning laws were violated and a hearing is pending on the zoning decision. I’m not sure what a judge might decide in this case, but one thing is crystal clear: It seems like hardly a day goes by when someone new, usually a male, is arrested for another sex crime.

This problem is getting worse and that means finding appropriate housing will too.


The Evergreen State College sure has some solid leadership. Since I wrote last week, I’ve read they are describing what happened on May 23 and May 24 as something it clearly wasn’t — “non-violent.”

According to a statement from the college, the whole thing was just a “non-violent” protest. It went on to say, “Everyone on our campus has the right to feel safe. Free speech must be fostered and encouraged. Every faculty member, student and staff member must have the freedom to speak openly.”

Except perhaps anyone, in this case Professor Weinstein, who has a different opinion than the mob that took over.

That mob blocked doors, prevented people from leaving (a crime) while making demands and vowing not to leave until they got what they want (sometimes referred to as extortion).

Beyond demanding the firing of said professor, among the other things, these “non-violent” protesters wanted some amnesty for homework assignments. After all, it takes a lot of effort and time to take over part of a campus, hold people hostage, and yell obscenities at them. 

They are just not going to have time to fit homework in too.

As for everyone being safe on campus, Professor Weinstein was told he wouldn’t be safe on campus and to stay away for a day or two. Why not? The college declared everyone should be safe so what’s the problem? What changes after a day or two?

Maybe the problem is they are delusional. This wasn’t a non-violent protest. There were crimes committed, and apparently the college has no plans to punish anyone for any of them. 

But, at least the students can turn in their homework late.


John McCroskey was Lewis County sheriff from 1995 to 2005. He lives outside Chehalis, and can be contacted at


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