The release of a convicted sex offender without any known address has been criticised as unsafe by the head of a charity dealing with child sexual abuse.
Debi Ray-Rivers, the executive director of Saving Children and Revealing Secrets, said Devaun Cox, released into the community today after serving time for sexual assault, should be in accommodation where the community would not be placed at risk.
Cox’s impending discharge from prison was announced on Tuesday by Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Reform.
The 38-year-old had been jailed for six months for a sexual assault on a woman patient at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute in January 2021.
Cox’s previous convictions include a further six months’ imprisonment in 2012 for intruding on the privacy of a young girl.
He was convicted for the same offence the following year and jailed for three years.
A repeat of the offence earned Cox another three years in jail in 2017, which he appealed without success. He also has two previous convictions for prowling.
Ms Ray-Rivers said that Scars was “very concerned about a dangerous sex offender being released with an address unknown”.
“One question would be, what are the licence conditions upon his release?”
She said the group could not condone a release without an address — adding that a dangerous sex offender would “never” warrant release from jail in Britain without “a confirmed place for a minimum of three months in a probation hostel”.
Release would be contingent on “strict licence conditions” that would include an approved address — to be followed by “probation-approved accommodation for the rest of their lives”.
“A sex offender in the UK would never be homeless in the community because of their risk,” she told The Royal Gazette. “An address should be known to probation and police for life.”
Breaches such as missing curfew or drug possession would result in a recall to prison and a wait of up to a year for a parole hearing, she added.
“Sounds to us that Bermuda needs a probation hostel, and perhaps we, as a country, should consider turning one of the unoccupied government properties into just that,” Ms Ray-Rivers said.
“This would not only protect our children and citizens, but also provide dangerous sex offenders with room, board and oversight.
“It would give our community peace of mind when dangerous offenders are released, while at the same time give dangerous sex offenders an opportunity to receive required therapeutic treatment.”
A query on Cox’s release and whether he could be effectively monitored without known accommodation has been directed to the Department of Corrections.