Paroled sex predator: `I'm not a threat'
PROTESTERS, CITY LEADERS WANT HIM TO LEAVE SAN JOSE
Outside Cary Verse's new home at the Mission Motel, protesters waved signs Wednesday telling him to get out of San Jose. Inside his tiny room, the sexually violent predator said their fears are misplaced.
``They're concerned, and they have a right to voice their concerns. But I'm not a threat to anybody,'' Verse told the Mercury News. ``They don't know my heart. They are reacting out of fear.''
Verse said his faith in God and ``chemical castration'' will prevent him from repeating his crimes -- four sexual assaults, including three against teenage boys.
But the protesters, neighborhood residents and city officials don't believe Verse. Police said Wednesday he told them he still has sexual thoughts and fantasies, Mayor Ron Gonzales upped the pressure on the state to act, and residents demanded Verse move out of his fourth home since his Feb. 5 release from Atascadero State Hospital.
``We were very surprised, and extremely, extremely disappointed in the way the California Department of Mental Health has handled the placement of Cary Verse in San Jose,'' Gonzales said. ``The secrecy and lack of information is unacceptable. They decided to move him to San Jose without regard to the concerns of our community and without any prior notice to our police department.''
The city is proposing to send a formal complaint to state officials to fix a ``broken system,'' asking the mental health agency to notify law enforcement when it places a high-risk sex offender and better define the procedure to ensure accountability.
``We also know that it is beyond unreasonable, beyond irresponsible, to not allow the people most affected by the decision, to not take part in that decision-making process,'' Police Chief Rob Davis told the crowd at a news conference.
Verse is the second notorious sex offender the state has tried to send to the same San Jose neighborhood under its controversial ``conditional release'' program, which is designed to move offenders who successfully complete treatment at Atascadero State Hospital back into the community. There, they are subject to round-the-clock electronic monitoring and intensive supervision.
Child molester Brian De-Vries, the first person to get conditional release from the violent sexual predator program, was set to move into a nearby motel about a year ago. There was an outcry, and he eventually ended up living in a trailer on the grounds of Soledad State Prison.
Police discovered Verse was in San Jose after a woman spotted him on Monterey Highway and called 911 on Tuesday.
The state Department of Mental Health continued to insist Wednesday that it was under a court order preventing it from releasing any information about Verse, including to police. But a Contra Costa County judge said he issued no such order.
During an interview with San Jose police this week, Verse admitted that he still has sexual thoughts and fantasies, but the ``chemical castration'' has removed his physical urge to act on those thoughts, said Lt. Scott Cornfield, commander of the department's sexual assault unit.
Verse was designated a sexually violent predator under a state law that allows authorities to hospitalize offenders who continue to pose a public threat. During his five-year stay at Atascadero that ended last month, Verse began his ``chemical castration'' as a part of his rehabilitation effort.
A device implanted under his skin releases Depo-Provera, a form of medroxyprogesterone that is used as a contraceptive in women. It also severely reduces the sex drive in men, resulting in a ``chemical castration.'' The implant is replaced annually.
Asked about police statements that he told them he still has sexual thoughts and fantasies, Verse told the Mercury News: ``I don't have arousal with anything with the chemical castration.''
By Wednesday afternoon, more than a dozen protesters had stationed themselves outside the motel on Monterey Highway. They stood in front, carrying signs that read: ``No Child Molester. Get Out,'' as motorists drove by and honked their horns in support. At times, Verse peered out of his shuttered window, watching the protesters. The noisy protest continued into the night.
Outside of the Mission Motel, Maggie Gonzales said she would continue to protest Verse's presence as long as he stayed at the motel, which is within walking distance of schools and parks.
``This is not right. They shouldn't just dump them here,'' said Gonzales, a parent volunteer at Shirakawa Elementary School. ``As long as he's here, I know it's not safe.''
Lori George, a teacher at a day care center around the corner from Verse's new address, said she was irate over the lack of information on such an important public safety issue.
``This is very upsetting,'' George said while watching the 22 children at her center. ``There are a lot of kids in this neighborhood. This is a major concern.''
San Jose is the third city Verse has landed in since his release from state custody. Community pressure forced Verse out of a motel in Mill Valley, a residential hotel in downtown Oakland and most recently, St. Patrick's Abbey in East Oakland.
Watching the pickets from his motel window, Verse said he's ``staying low,'' only leaving to eat. He said he has been praying and that his faith as a Jehovah's Witness will help get him past this latest ordeal.
``I trust in God,'' he said.
Mercury News staff writers Rodney Foo, Sean Webby, Dan Reed and the Contra Costa Times contributed to this report. Contact Crystal Carreon at firstname.lastname@example.org or (408) 920-5460.