"They don't have to worry because I do not pose any danger. I deserve a fair chance."- Cary Verse, recently released sex offender.

California communities are struggling to balance justice and fairness with community safety. A number of recent, and soon to be released, violent sexual predators are looking for places to stay. Not surprisingly, many of the communities where these ex-cons are placed are fighting to keep them out of their town and away from their children.

The battle over the placement of recently paroled sex offenders took an ugly and unusual turn with the spill over from the Cary Verse situation. After being shuttled from city to city, Verse ended up in Oakland’s St. Patrick's Abbey. The Rev. Donald Weeks uses the abbey as a halfway house, helping slews of ex-cons gets their footing and ideally working their way back into society. When local residents found out that Verse would be staying at the Abbey (which until recently, was located across from a school) the predictable outrage ensued. Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente saw an issue with legs and led the ensuing campaign against St. Patrick’s Abbey and the Rev. Donald Weeks. First a variety of code violations were levied against the Abbey. When the Rev. vowed to stay and fight the Councilman he was arrested on child molestation charges. The abbey was closed and the ex-cons, including Verse, were dispersed. Soon afterwards the charges against Rev. Weeks were dropped when a cursory investigation proved that the accused wasn’t in California at the time of the alleged incidents. Though Weeks was released from jail the police maintain, “the book on the case is still open”. Week’s attorney John Burris considers the case little more than a witchunt, noting, "Any reasonable investigation by the Oakland Police Department would have shown that it could not have happened in the location or the time period in which the allegations were made,'' Burris said. "There was no crime. There was no underage victim. This all could have been proven without arresting Father Weeks and ruining his life.''

Few people, (and even fewer with children) would like to live near a sexual predator but California is increasingly confronted with the issue of placing convicted sexual deviants once they are paroled. As Rev. Weeks discovered, forgiveness isn’t always free.