Sex offender placement angers Concord neighborhood

CONCORD, Calif. (KTVU) -- An uproar is brewing in Concord over the proposed release of a repeat rapist into one of the neighborhoods of the East Bay city.

51-year-old Fraisure Smith is classified by the state as a "sexually violent predator".
 
On Friday, the Concord Police Department went house to house in the Colony Park neighborhood, alerting neighbors with a flyer showing Smith's name and face.
 
"Came home, and the notice was on the door, and that's how we found out how this was happening, " Amhurst Way resident Ryan Cassidy told KTVU. "And he does not belong on our street."
 
Within hours, opponents were networking on social media to resist Smith's occupancy of a rental home, which neighbors say has been vacant for several months.
 
Smith has served prison sentences for three sexual assault convictions but has remained in a state hospital until he could demonstrate that he is no longer a threat, and eligible for conditional release.
 
"They have an ankle monitor. They have places they can go and times they can go there," Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Andrea Tavernier told KTVU, "And, in spite of the risk posed by a SVP, the hospital or a court has concluded there are ways to monitor that risk."
 
Tavernier is preparing arguments for a hearing next month, in which Contra Costa County will object to Smith's placement in Concord.
 
The legal preference is for an offender to relocate to the community he's originally from, and where he committed his crimes. In Smith's case, that's Solano County.
 
"What Solano is saying is they have extraordinary circumstances that justify moving him outside their county," explained Tavernier. "And it is our position that they don't."
 
Solano officials, and the state hospital system, will likely argue that on two occasions that housing in their jurisdiction was found for Smith, the public outcry was overwhelming, and the proposals dropped.
 
"I don't know where they belong, they obviously have to live somewhere" exasperated resident Hayley Weemaes told KTVU outside the home she shares with her husband and two children.
 
"I've worked with sex offenders, and successful rehabilitation is not a common outcome," Weemaes added. "The greatest predictor of future behavior is past behavior."
 
Parents are especially concerned, hearing that Smith's convictions go back thirty years, and involve attacks on young women.
 
"I'm a little afraid, " admitted neighbor Ann Kindorf. "I've got teenagers, a daughter who's fifteen, so I'm very worried."

Smith's placement is opposed by the City of Concord, the Police Department, and the District Attorney, who find Smith's proximity to parks, schools, day care centers and housing, an unsafe fit.
 
"You don't see them going into Walnut Creek or Lafayette, why do we get dumped on?" complained Ryan Cassidy, who bought his house about two years ago.
 
A check of the Megan's Law website administered by the State Department of Justice, finds 124 registered sex offenders living in Concord, out of approximately 1000 across the county. Only Antioch has more at 167.
 
Walnut Creek by comparison has 19, but authorities note a big difference between a sex registrant and a "sexually violent predator."
 
Beyond a criminal conviction, the SVP has been deemed mentally disordered, and committed to a State hospital.
 
Fraisure Smith has described himself as rehabilitated, learning the barbering trade while at Coalinga State Hospital.
 
He insists that he is impotent from cancer treatment, and not a threat to anyone. Still, his prospective neighbors are unmoved.
 
"You committed these crimes and now you have to pay the price, " declared Cassidy, "why do other people have to worry about something you've done or might do again?
 
The public hearing for Smith's placement is scheduled for Friday, September 25 at 9 am, Solano County Superior Court, 600 Union Avenue in Fairfield.
 
Those who are interest but cannot attend, are encouraged to forward comments to the Concord City Attorney's Office at 1950 Parkside Drive, Concord 94519.
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