WRAL Investigates

Attorneys: Sex offenders face dilemma when finding housing

Posted August 16, 2012

WRAL Investigates

— When sex offenders are released from prison in North Carolina, they have three business days to let the local sheriff’s office know where they are living.

However, sex offenders on probation have even less time and must make housing plans before leaving prison. Finding a home quickly that isn’t near schools or child-care centers can prove difficult, according to defense attorneys.

Convicted sex offenders Kevin Askew and David Talbert failed to find a place to live before leaving jail and were found to be in violation of their probations, according to their attorneys.

“The dilemma was (Talbert) was homeless and didn’t have a place to stay,” said attorney Daniel Read.

Attorney John Wait said authorities took his client, Askew, to the sheriff’s office and “violated him on his probation.”

In court, Talbert offered to live on the streets, suggesting the sidewalk in front of the federal courthouse. Askew's probation officer tried seven different numbers for places that all refused him.

The Court of Appeals agreed both men needed time outside prison to find a home. A probation officer noted that, in Askew’s case, he needed a curfew check each night, and that couldn’t happen without an address.

“The state argued that (Askew) could’ve made calls inside, but most prisoners are only allowed collect calls or to write letters,” Read said.

“There doesn’t seem to be a plan at all,” Wait added.

There are safety issues. Both Askew and Talbert were convicted of indecent liberties with children. However, Monika Johnson Hostler, executive director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, agrees cases like theirs need another look.

Kevin Askew and David Talbert Sex offenders face ‘dilemma’ when finding housing

“(This is) a difficult one to navigate, because the law isn’t clear,” she said.

Even though the Court of Appeals said Askew and Talbert deserved to get released, the panel didn't say how much time was enough time for a sex offender on probation to find a home.

North Carolina Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pam Walker said the department urges probation officers “to seek the best possible residency solutions for the offenders they supervise.”

“Working often with limited options, our officers seek solutions that are within the law and in the best interest of public safety,” Walker added.

The Department of Justice says it does not plan to appeal Askew’s and Talbert’s cases. Both men are set to get out of prison next week. Their attorneys are still working on finding them a place to live.

93 Comments

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  • highcountry Aug 17, 7:51 p.m.

    Aww...poor sex offenders.....NOT!!!

  • shortcake53 Aug 17, 7:04 p.m.

    Why do they get a chance to do it again is my point. Not a second, third or any other chance after they did it ONCE. By already doing it before they have already proved they cannot be trusted or be productive. The end.

  • bevmorgan56 Aug 17, 6:30 p.m.

    shortcake53 you obviously did not read my comment read it again please. I said second chance if they cannot prove themselves productive, and continue to act out then they should be confined permanently.

    tayled Just like an alcoholic they deserve a second chance at life. They may always have the urge to re-offend. Just like with alcoholics they need a support group to help them in their journey to recovery. You have to admit that going it alone is probably a pretty rough, and rocky road. I say the community should be helping these offenders become better people.

    Again I say the more people around them the better chance they have to recover. IT TAKES A VILLAGE

  • tayled Aug 17, 6:07 p.m.

    I know of two cases myself where the offenders were put on probation for child sex abuse. Once they were off probation, they re-offended within a year and ended up where they belonged, behind bars.

  • tayled Aug 17, 6:04 p.m.

    If anyone of the previous commenters consider themselves to be christian, they should be ashamed of their comments. EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE. People by their very nature are flawed in many ways. There is not one person dead or alive who has not committed an atrocious act on another human being. I don't condone the actions of sexual predators, but they do deserve a chance to re-enter society. If they cannot prove themselves productive, and continue to act out then they should be confined permanently. Instead of attacking, and condemning these individuals did you ever think about seeking them out, and trying to help them in some way? Maybe all some of these people need is friends? Also the more people there are around them the more eyes that are on them at all times. Stop being so hateful, and learn to have a little compassion.

    Good point, but you have to remember one thing. Just like an alcoholic, even if they are "recovering" that temptation will always be there. Yes,

  • shortcake53 Aug 17, 6:04 p.m.

    So bev, how many chances you willing to give these guys around YOUR child?? It may be true that everyone makes mistakes during their lifetime, but making a mistake is a far cry from sexually attacking someone. You do it ONCE, and your chances are OVER. Move them in with you if your so concerned for these creeps.

  • bevmorgan56 Aug 17, 5:57 p.m.

    If anyone of the previous commenters consider themselves to be christian, they should be ashamed of their comments. EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE. People by their very nature are flawed in many ways. There is not one person dead or alive who has not committed an atrocious act on another human being. I don't condone the actions of sexual predators, but they do deserve a chance to re-enter society. If they cannot prove themselves productive, and continue to act out then they should be confined permanently. Instead of attacking, and condemning these individuals did you ever think about seeking them out, and trying to help them in some way? Maybe all some of these people need is friends? Also the more people there are around them the more eyes that are on them at all times. Stop being so hateful, and learn to have a little compassion.

  • sunshine1040 Aug 17, 5:45 p.m.

    Maybe they can move in with members of the court of appeals or the judge that sentenced them

  • SomeRandomGuy Aug 17, 5:02 p.m.

    who is PAYING these attorneys in this story??

  • htomc42 Aug 17, 4:50 p.m.

    >I think they should never be allowed back into society because statistically it is rare, if not impossible to rehabilitate them

    Not to defend pedophiles, personally I think they should be kept in much longer. But I really don't think the facts back up this popular assertion. All the real recidivism stats I've seen, and not just innuendo- seem to indicate that they don't generally re-offend. It may be true that they will always have these impulses, but apparently treatment is mostly effective so they can control and not act on those impulses.

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