Tuesday, September 22, 2009

False Sex Offender Flier at School

ProvidenceJournal (R.I.) : Warwick PD: Flier about sex offender at school is wrong.

The police are working to debunk a flier that's circulating in the community suggesting a registered sex offender may have been photographing a child on a school playground Tuesday evening.

The police have determined that the man named on the flier was not at the school that night and was not doing what the flier suggests, Police Capt. Robert Nelson said Friday morning.

"We've investigated that. He was not there. We know where he was," Nelson said. "We know everything about him. He's provided alibis, and we've confirmed those. He wasn't there. It wasn't him."

According to Nelson, it all began at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when a husband and wife saw a man who they thought was photographing a child on the jungle gym at Wyman Elementary School, located at 1 Columbia Ave. After the couple apparently found a picture of a registered sex offender on an online database -- Nelson doesn't know which one -- and thought he could have been the man they saw, someone else began circulating fliers, according to the police.

The fliers wrongly accuse the man, Nelson said. "The problem is that they kind of went off and did their own thing and were wrong," he said. " ... They jumped the gun but never got the actual facts."

"When you start identifying people and maligning them wrongly, they have civil liability," Nelson said. "So you open yourself up to -- particularly when you put them in flier form, it becomes a problem. Not withstanding the hysteria and concern you cause the neighbors for something that may or may not have happened or may not be legitimate."

The sex offender has been fully cooperative with the police and was appropriately registered, Nelson said.

More stupid Americans raptured up in the hysteria of their own mind, causing harm to someone who did nothing wrong. This vigilante couple should be prosecuted and sued.