A sex offender has alarmed Occupy Portland protesters by registering their camp as his address.
The Portland Tribune reports that Raymond Allen Curtis registered with Portland police on Oct. 12, giving his address as "Lownsdale Square/Occupy." Lownsdale Square is one of the parks currently occupied by Occupy Portland protesters. Especially given the news of a possible sexual assault at the Portland protest, some Occupiers are concerned. Given the nature of the protest, with many people sleeping outdoors in tents and sleeping bags, the presence of a sexual predator would be especially disturbing.
But it's not clear if he's actually there. KATU couldn't find Curtis on state registries in Oregon, Washington, or California. And protester Jeanne Whitman says it would be simple to provide the Square as a fake address: "How easy would it be for someone to frankly, make something like that up? Extremely easy." Curtis could actually live somewhere else, and could have listed the square as a way of keeping authorities from checking up on him. However, it's true that a public park isn't a particularly unusual place for a sex offender to turn up. The Tribune points out that, "Registered sex offenders frequently have trouble obtaining permanent addresses. It is not unusual for them to live in homeless camps." Some media outlets have played up the ease with which felons can blend in to Occupy's large groups of people, perhaps as a way of discrediting the protesters. We shouldn't judge the Occupiers by criminals who may or may not try to blend in with them, but Occupy camps should be aware of the potential risks incurred by any long-term outdoor gathering of people. It sounds like Occupy Portland already is: says public safety team member Nat Holder, "I personally will engage with police if that's necessary and we'll take care of the problem. It's zero tolerance for violence."
Sex Offender Uses Occupy Portland Camp As Address [Portland Tribune]
Sex Offender Registers Occupy Portland Camp As Address [KATU]