From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 45 - 6/29/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Sex Offender Hearings Warrant Urgency

I like Dale Aronson and believe he is a hard working County Attorney, but I'm disappointed that he hasn't moved more aggressively on scheduling notification hearings for the six resident sex offenders we have in Sublette County. Further, I'm even more disappointed in the weak excuses he gave for not moving faster.

Mr. Aronson has a difficult job with lots on his plate, but I cannot think of many things more important to his constituents than knowing that their neighbor is a sex offender. The sex offender notification law enacted last July is designed to give warning to parents and possible victims that they may have a convicted sex offender, with some chance of reoffense, living in their neighborhood. This way we can be wary, and on guard. Notification could prevent much harm from occurring.

For certain types of sex offenders, the law leaves it up to the County Attorney to decide if he or she wants to schedule a notification hearing with a district judge. Mr. Aronson says he's intended to pursue hearings for all the sex offenders living in Sublette County ever since the law was enacted a year ago, but he's been awfully slow getting around to it.

He blames the slow pace on the DCI and problems he's had getting the information he needs to make a recommendation to the judge. However, Jim Wilson of the DCI says his division has responded promptly to every request it's received from Mr. Aronson.

Mr. Aronson says he can judge the urgency of each of these cases. I wonder, however, if the people unknowingly living next to these sex offenders would feel the same lack of urgency he does. What if one of these sex offenders is a little league coach or a scout master, or teaches Sunday school to children? As a parent, wouldn't you like to know?

Though he says he does, I don't think Mr. Aronson has a handle on the sex offenders in Sublette County at all. Despite his words to the contrary, I don't believe him when he says he's been moving as fast as he can to get notification hearings for these individuals. I think my questions Tuesday caught him off guard, but instead of admitting that he wasn't on top of things, or requesting time to get back to me, Mr. Aronson became overly defensive, gave weak excuses.

Let's move on. I encourage Mr. Aronson to schedule notification hearings for the remaining six sex offenders living in Sublette County as soon as possible. If the district judge decides no notification is required so be it, but at least go through the process.

Finally, this is the last issue Tony Tully will be writing his column for the Sublette County Journal. Tony hasn't been afraid to question and criticize many of the small town ideas that permeate this community or this newspaper editor. I haven't agreed with Mr. Tully much of the time - but he sure has made me think and question my own beliefs. This is all a good opinion columnist can ask of his readers. Thank you Tony. I'm going to miss you.

See The Archives for past articles.

Copyright © 1999, 2000 The Sublette County Journal
All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means must have permission of the Publisher.
The Sublette County Journal, PO Box 3010, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3713
Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul