Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jeffrey Hawkins - Repeat Sex Offender - People thought he was a Bush Pee'er

"There were rumors that he had been caught urinating in public"

"If I knew back then what I know now," John Lastocy says that about his former co-worker, Jeffrey Hawkins. Lastocy says he was in the dark, and he once supervised the former Plainfield Township firefighters. Hawkins was on the sex offender registry and is now accused of targeting children again.

Jeffrey Hawkins was fired this week from his job as Plainfield Township's Deputy Clerk and as a Plainfield Township Firefighter.

Hawkins is charged with soliciting a 15 year old on Facebook.

John Lastocy was a firefighter in Plainfield Township for 30 years, until he was let go 3 years ago. Lastocy was Jeffrey Hawkins' supervisor. He says, "He was a good firefighter. He was one of the better firefighters we had."

Lastocy says he heard Hawkins might be on the sex offender registry. But, he says, "There were rumors that he had been caught urinating in public. But that was just a rumor. The department never officially told us anything. Never came to us, never came to me as a lieutenant."

So, when Lastocy learned Hawkins plead guilty in 1997 to sexual contact with a 12 year old relative, he was upset. Lastocy says, "I'm a parent, I'm devastated. I don't believe the fire department should have hid that from us. I had teenaged kids at the time. Other firefighters had kids. It's my responsibility as a parent to protect my children. But I wasn't given that opportunity."

Plainfield Township Fire Chief David Peterson says he doesn't know for sure if Lastocy knew of Hawkins' criminal history. But the command staff at the time of the offense was involved in the decision to keep him on.

Peterson says the department would not hire someone with a criminal background, but Hawkins was already on staff. He says the department intentionally did not send Hawkins to schools and tried to minimize his contact with children.

Tom Cottrell is the Vice President of Counseling Services at the YWCA and works with sex offenders. He says, "It isn't necessarily a lifelong process of therapy. It is a lifelong process of being vigilant. No one is ever cured. It's an ongoing awareness of the choices they make."

Cottrell says statistics show only 5 percent of offenders sent to prison for a sex offense re-offend within three years. He says that's much lower than the 60 to 70 percent rate for other types of crimes. But, Cottrell says sexual offenses are also an under-reported crime, so it's hard to judge the accuracy of those recidivism rates.

"25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years"
.........Sarah Tofte

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