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23 Sex Fiends Living Among Us - and we're banned from telling you where

TWENTY-three of the state's worst sex offenders are living secretly among us.
The State Government refuses to reveal where the 21 men and two women are living despite serious public concerns.
It was revealed that more than half of the 45 released sex offenders still considered a serious danger are not in the so-called "village of the damned" compound outside Ararat Jail.
They are living in Melbourne and other country areas in housing approved by the Parole Board. Most are living in government housing or renting, but some are believed to be in their own homes.
The growing number of sex offenders released from jail on supervision orders because they are considered a high risk of reoffending is creating major accommodation problems for authorities.
The identity and location of such offenders has been routinely suppressed.
A Corrections Victoria spokeswoman said yesterday the location of offenders living in the community was kept secret because of court orders, privacy considerations and concerns about vigilante behaviour that could jeopardise offenders' access to treatment.
Their proximity to schools, kindergartens and playgrounds was among the factors considered.
Thirty ex-prisoners are now under extended supervision orders for up to 15 years.
Another 15 are on interim orders made by County Court judges pending a court hearing to decide whether an ESO is appropriate.
Judges must be convinced offenders about to be released are still a serious danger to the community before they issue a supervision order.
Three released sex offenders were returned to custody during 2008-09 after breaching their supervision orders by committing new offences.
Parole Board manager David Provan said two had been released on ESOs and the other was on an interim order.
Child safety and crime victim groups yesterday said the public should be told where serious sex offenders were living.
Dr Joe Tucci, chief executive of the Australian Childhood Foundation, said community leaders, at least, should know the whereabouts of offenders living in their area.
"People like school principals, kindergarten heads and local police - people with responsibility for children - should be told," Dr Tucci said.
"That would at least give the rest of the community confidence there was another layer of surveillance and scrutiny involved."
Crime Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara said parents "need to be given a fighting chance to protect their children".
"We don't want to know their addresses, but the public has a right to know what suburbs these people are living in so they can be on full alert," he said.
Mr McNamara said he had believed all released sex offenders on ESOs were housed at Ararat.
But Liberty Victoria president Michael Pearce, SC, said the law struck a reasonable balance between community protection and rehabilitation of offenders.
Mr Pearce said the community could be satisfied they were adequately protected by the very stringent conditions applied to people on ESOs.

Herald Sun (22-10-2009)
Geoff Wilkinson

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