Elk Grove City Council Grapples With Juvenile Sex Offender Home

BREAKING Decides to form ad-hoc committee to research facilities During a meeting mixing the raw emotions of a juvenile sex offend...


Decides to form ad-hoc committee to research facilities

During a meeting mixing the raw emotions of a juvenile sex offender home with bare-knuckle politics, the Elk Grove City Council moved to appease residents fears regarding a juvenile sex offender facility and then deffered until later in the session to decide whether or not to dump Sophia Scherman as Mayor.

A standing-room-only audience crowded the council chambers initially for a special meeting on whether or not to remove Sophia Scherman as mayor for the balance of the year. Before that special meeting convened, Council Member Gary Davis made a motion to move the meeting to the end of the evening.

The special meeting was called for by Davis,Vice Mayor Steve Detrick and Council Member Jim Cooper last week in response to a hastily scheduled special meeting by Scherman last week that the three were unable to attend. Scherman's meeting, which was scheduled with a 24-hour notice for Wednesday, July21, was for the purpose of discussing the juvenile sex offender facility on Cheer Court.

Although Scherman and Council Member Pat Hume objected to Davis' motion citing the large audience on hand for the special meeting, Cooper and Detick Davis' motion.

After hearing several speakers during the public comment portion of non-agenda items, Cooper suggested to move the juvenile sex offender facility item to the front of the agenda. Hume's earlier motion to split the matter into a separate meeting died and Cooper's was unanimously approved.

Gap is probation registration

Once the Cheer Court matter was moved up, the council heard from the person who first brought the matter to the public attention, Carrie Wilmont. During her comments Wilmont said she discovered that residents of the Cheer Court facility were not known by Sacramento Probation because they were from other counties and therefore not required to be registered in Sacramento County.

"This is another gap [in the law]'" Wilmont said. "This is why we need to take it to the state level."

During council deliberations Hume said he was not in support of forming an ad-hoc committee. He suggested city staff should be used to work on the matter and the matter had become to political.

"I would like to see the city commit resources and for us council members to take our finger prints off this," Hume said.

Cooper took the opportunity to discuss the law enforcement challenges with regards as it relates to juvenile sex offenders. Aside from many gaps in the state law regarding juvenile sex offender, Cooper emphasized that county budget cuts have severely effected the probation departments ability to monitor juvenile sex offenders.

"Probation has cut over 200 officers," Cooper said. "These budget cuts affect Elk Grove."

To solve the matter Cooper said a regional approach is needed. "It is going to be a multi-faceted approach," he said.

Davis was adamant that the council form an ad-hoc committee noting it offered flexibility and that the next regular meeting was not until late August because of the annual recess.

Sensing that the ad-hoc committee would be approved against her objections, Scherman said she was against its formation and was not interested in serving on it. "I can count the votes," she said.

Hume initially introduced a motion to direct city staff to work on the matter but it lost on 2-3 vote. By a 3-2 vote the council decided to form the committee. Hume and Scherman voted against the motion.

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