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Building B.L.O.C.K. part one

Unspoken injustice; your neighbor the sex offender

By Stephen Webster
Investigative Reporter

1st in a Series

Did you know that in Denton County alone there are over 70 convicted sex offenders – men and women who assaulted children under the age of 12 – who never served a jail sentence? The sum total of the county’s offenders comes to 176; only 12 are currently in jail. In Flower Mound, one of North Texas’ most beautiful, sought-after villas, 13 such individuals are presently living unmolested. And in Highland Village , a cornerstone of family and conservative values, five more lurk. Dallas County is worse: there, 843 convicted sex criminals are free to live, work and play. The State of Texas only requires these individuals to register their home address; the same action asked of law-abiding citizens seeking to obtain a drivers license.

According to the National Center for Sex Offender Management, nearly half of all convicted child molesters are arrested for committing other violent crimes within half a decade of their first conviction. Perhaps more shockingly, the Higher Education Act of 1998 explicitly stipulates that any convicted drug offender over the age of 18 is to be barred from receiving a Pell Grant for one year, whereas no prohibition has been established for convicted sex offenders, or any other breed of criminal for that matter. This country incarcerates more of its population than any nation on Earth, yet somehow cannot manage to find room in its prisons for the offenders that do the most damage.

But the problem is much more widespread that just that. Ernie Allen, President of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, claims that somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 convicted sex offenders have completely absconded from the government’s not-so watchful eye. Worse, the Department of Justice has determined that a child is sexually assaulted somewhere in America every four minutes. Ultimately, the leniency being given to convicted sexual predators is not somewhere far away, in another city or state. It is endemic to America ’s system of justice. Because of this, these individuals are currently living in your neighborhood, working in your office, and prowling your streets.

How can this be?

That is the question Christopher Largen has been asking since he was 21 years old. A Denton resident and repeat victim of childhood sexual assault, Largen is the founder of a new activist group called “Building B.L.O.C.K. – Better Lives for Our Communities and Children.” Largen, who taglines himself as an “internationally published novelist, journalist, screenwriter, public speaker and social activist,” took several hours to speak with The News Connection to detail how he perceives this problem, and what he believes can be done to fix it.

Photo by Stephen Webster

Christopher Largen, one of Building Block's founding members, is a community activist, published author and life-long journalist who is attempting to raise awareness of this unspoken injustice.

“Breaking the silence about the abuse is critical component number one,” said Largen. “That is the main priority of Building B.L.O.C.K. There can be no healing [for the victims] unless they break their silence. These perpetrators thrive on silence, and the system of injustice that allows these perpetrators to go free thrives on silence and the societal disconnect. I believe that we as a people are going through a collective dissociation ourselves.”

“Most people think that it is not a big deal because it didn’t happen to them directly,” continued Largen. “But it has now happened to so many people in this culture that if it didn’t happen to you, you know someone who is a victim. The fact that we could allow our public policies to become so skewed and diverted, I think is indicative of the fact that this is not considered dinner conversation in this country. This is not a pleasant topic, but it must be discussed. It has been at that point for some time now, but for some reason most people simply will not speak out.

Over the next several months, TNC will be running a series of investigative reports detailing the widespread leniency being dolled out to sex criminals, and the cycle of abuse that turns their victims into tomorrow’s offenders. There are several judges in Denton County who have records of giving these criminals probation, even after repeat offenses and multiple convictions. Furthermore, during our own research we noticed that dockets detailing the trials of several area sex criminals have simply vanished from the court’s archives.

TNC’s Editorial Board feels as though it is morally treasonable to the American public to remain neutral and objective on matters of such dire importance. It is because of this that TNC has taken up the cause of breaking our community’s silence on this unspoken injustice. We will be joining with Building B.L.O.C.K. to raise community awareness of this important topic, and we encourage our community to write in and get involved with this cumulative effort to shine a light on a most painful topic.

For more information on Building B.L.O.C.K., visit www.building-block.org.

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