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Knowing is half the battle

Those of you who regularly read the Oregonian may have noticed an article regarding Jack McClellan moving to Portland.  Those of you who didn't, might want to know who Jack McClellan is, and why I'd be bringing him up here.  He is a self-proclaimed pedophile who once kept a website that posted events where young girls could be seen/photographed.  There was a time he photographed them and posted the photographs, too.  He claims to no longer be photographing but he has looked to Portland to seek refuge from the harassment he received in Washington state and California.

Legally, many state that McClellan hasn't violated any laws by his writings and photographing, but admittedly, he's very outspoken about his intents, and doesn't deny them.  So what's an urbanMama to do?  Be aware.  Know as much as you can.  Look for his picture online and know his face.  Beyond Mr McClellan there are other things we should be informed about too, such as sex offenders and where they live.

So please remember that knowing is half the battle.  Armed with this knowledge will help in keeping your family safe.

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An easy way to see where sex offenders are:

1) go to Portland Maps: http://www.portlandmaps.com/
2) type in an address
3) in the upper right list of links click on "Crime" (or hover your mouse over it for a few moments).
4) in the list of links below it click on "sex offenders".

On the resulting map you will see little dots of different colors (or, hopefully, you won't see any around the address you posted, but zoom around the map to find one if you are interested in how the map works). You can click on a dot to see a photograph and get information on what the crime committed.

I sincerely hope this database is updated immediately with the registry and/or change of address but I can't attest to when/how it is updated.

but don't forget that strangers aren't the only folks who can bring harm to your kiddos. I worry sometimes that we think if we're focusing on knowing who lives down the street we feel safe, and that's not always the case. Kids need to know about stranger danger, as well as babysitter, crazy aunt/uncle pat danger, etc.

i do love his desire to come here to get away from the difficult time he's had in Seattle and LA. Like it's going to be any better for him here?

I just reread my post. I mean no offense by using the word "crazy." Please forgive if I inadvertently did.

yes, I too wanted to balance the fear of strangers (and jack mcclellan types) with the knowledge that children are far more likely to be raped, molested, abused, etc. by people that they know (family & friends, etc.). We all need to keep our eyes open - but I just hate to see a society become handicapped with fear of strangers, especially children - as it is important to trust the world around you.
I haven't dug to deep into this yet, but there are many great sources out there that discuss how to keep your children's innate sense of trust/distrust open, to help them trust their own instincts. For example, not forcing them to be intimate with aunts/uncles/grandparents/friends, etc. that they aren't comfortable with. There may be a reason why they aren't comfortable and forcing them for social reasons to "be polite" might mess with their internal trust/instincts. just food for thought.

A few local resources might be of interest. Listen to Kids (formerly called Community Advocates, www.listentokids.org) and Kids on the Block (www.powerfulpuppetry.org) do presentations in schools on safety/prevention. If your school doesn't have this, ask for it.

WomenStrength is a free self-defense class for women and girls 13 and up (www.portlandonline.com/police, click the WomenStrength link on the left). In addition to learning physical fighting skills, students learn how to defuse dangerous situations, practice being assertive and trusting their instincts, and get facts/statistical data on assault crimes.

Other things we can do is not tiptoe around our kids. We should always use correct words for body parts and be honest about why we set limits with them. If they trust our limit setting in other areas because our limits make sense, they will be more likely to trust us when we tell them about good and bad touching.

yes, I think helping kids to trust their insticts and use thier voice is key. A friend recommended a book called "Protecting the Gift" for parents. It is about building that intuition in kids while still letting them have faith in the world. Here is the info from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Protecting-Gift-Keeping-Children-Teenagers/dp/0440509009/ref=sr_1_1/103-3817876-1608666?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189141055&sr=1-1

I second reading "Protecting the Gift"....its a very important book.

On a related topic, I heard that pedophiles were taking pictures of naked kids at Jasmison Park and posting them on the web. This is a good reminder that we live in a big city (its easy to forget sometimes) and to not let my daughter roam naked in public parks! (Besides being a health hazard at a place like a water park)

Ohhhh, that pisses me off on so many levels! (The pictures, the fear it will instill in parents, the judgement if folks do choose to let their little ones play nude.) Yes it's official-we do live in a big city.

um, what kate said 1000 percent. There's a husband and wife team in Washington Co. Sheriff's department that did a training I went to.

The focus was that less then 10 percent of the 300 cases he's worked involved a previously registered sex offender. For instance, he gave an example about pedophiles befriending families with children over months sometimes years to get access to a child. That often parents were nearby when their children were molested.

It doesn't matter the size of the city or town you live in or even if your child is naked in a fountain. I wouldn't have my child naked in public for a myriad of reasons, but ymmv.

Just be careful about who has unfettered access to your child. Imbue your little ones with as much confidence and strength as possible. I think that is more important that all the registries in the world. We live around the corner from a "predatory sex offender", it hasn't changed how I parent.

i think that kate's point about kids feeling the need to be "polite" since they were raised and taught to treat people that way is a big thing. a sex offender affected my life and deeply affected the life of my brother. and all along i knew this person was was doing things that were very wrong but i was paralyzed by the need to not be disrespectful and to be polite. and also, of course, by the difficulty to talk about it AND a lack of accessible, comfortable language to talk about it with anyone. we spend a lot of time on the "don't talk to strangers" bit and also the "these areas are private and no one should touch them" but when people do, and you already knew them, we forget how difficult it is for a child to bring it up. even when asked, a child might deny even if they want to talk about it.

I am offended that our children's images are used for exploitative reasons but we need to honor the rights of sex offenders. How do the rest of you feel about your children's faces superimposed in suggestive or pornographic images? It may be legal to take a picture of my daughter in public but it is not right! It is legal to display non sexual images of our children for the pleasure of pedophiles, because of freedom of speech. How free are our children when they are not old enough to permit the use of their photographic image? Children are not only viewed by one pervert in the park, but thousands of others with just the click of a cell phone camera. If you could change the law to better protect your child's image from predators, how would you go about doing this? I realize that we are in danger of being overprotective here, but I would love to hear from other mothers. I don't want to see my daughter on a pedophile's website. If you have some ideas, I would love to hear from you.

Jack McClellan, according to today's Oregonian, has left Portland and returned to Los Angeles:

"TriMet chases out pedophile"
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1194927911111810.xml&coll=7

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