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Patch’s bias is showing in article about transition housing for registrants.

By Sandy . . . It has been a while since anything significant crossed my desk concerning the situation in Joliet where the mayor is doing his best – or worst — to close down an apartment building designed as reentry housing for men with sexual crime convictions. After losing round one by way of a federal ruling, Mayor Bob O’Dekirk launched round two: the city bought a lot with a vacant house a block away from the NewDay Apartments, the home of the registrants, with the plan to demolish the home and build a park/playground there – projected to be functional in June, 2023 — which would place the residents of the apartment building out of compliance with state law.

City council approved the plan with no grandfather clause included.

That was five months ago, and a flurry of new publicity has now been released about the progress of the project.

According to the local Patch, the house at the newly purchased property has been demolished. It is now being referred to as a “fire-damaged” building, which I find curious. I read every word printed at the time the plan was being hatched, including all of the Patch articles, and I watched and listened to the city council meeting where the plan was officially presented and approved. I don’t recall the home on the property being described as fire-damaged; it was only described as vacant. A photograph pulled from a real estate site some months ago shows the house fully from the front and one side, and no fire damage is discernable. I cannot find any reference to the house being “fire-damaged” except in this most recent Patch article. If it was “fire-damaged” when the city of Joliet bought it on August 12, 2021, for $83,000.00, when did it become that way? And how?

Patch Publications can also take credit for using the name “Pedophile Palace” to identify the apartment building. Anyone who has read my recent criticism of Fox News and Tucker Carlson regarding the use of that word knows how I feel about it. Seldom fully understood, almost always misused, and often misspelled, pedophilia requires a qualified physician’s diagnosis before one can accurately be labeled a pedophile. And yet some editor in Illinois decided that Patch would get “cutesy” with headlines and use “Pedophile Palace.”

After a huge header starting with the words, Patch places the blame for the name on someone else with this sub-heading: “Joliet’s so-called ‘Pedophile Palace’ faces being closed in 2023 once the city of Joliet builds a new children’s playground in the spring.” In fact, in a June 24 article, they credit Jim Latham, a politician and unsuccessful candidate for state representative in Illinois’ 86th district, with coining the phrase, probably borrowed from a similar phrase, “Pedophile Island,” in another case.

I cannot find the words being used in any publication other than Patch. I searched Joliet’s primary local newspaper, the Herald-News, and the words were not found. I searched the Joliet Times Weekly. Nothing. I even searched the Chicago Tribune. Nothing. Jim Latham may have used the words first, but it looks as though if anyone is “so-calling” the NewDay Apartments “Pedophile Palace” and keeping that phrase in the public eye, it is Patch.

The overall bias of the piece is clear. At every opportunity pejorative terms are used. On at least seven occasions the term “sexual predator” or “child sex offender” is used when “man,” “apartment resident,” or “registrant” would have served as well or better. Additionally, the piece totally fails to do what all decent news pieces do: address both sides of a controversial issue. There is not even a hint of the scientific evidence and studies supporting the efficacy and benefit to public safety of reentry support for those who have been incarcerated for a sexual crime conviction, and for an article appearing in the “Crime and Safety” section, that is inexcusable.

Patch Publications in Illinois are clearly in the camp of those who want the NewDay apartment residents gone, and that is their right. It is also their right to print editorials making that position clear, even though their stance is the opposite of what has been shown to best serve public safety. But when they print not editorials but purported news articles using inflammatory terminology as “click-bait,” when they publicize the pictures and criminal records of men who are working to overcome the faults of their pasts, when they feature rhetoric and accusations for which there is not a shred of evidence — “They’re. . . making having new victims even easier” – and when they fail to include any of the plethora of evidence that does exist on the subject, then they have crossed lines that no reputable journalistic medium should cross.

A request to the Patch editor and author of the articles for a comment or response went unanswered.

Sandy Rozek

Written by 

Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.

20 Thoughts to “Patch’s bias is showing in article about transition housing for registrants.”

  1. AvatarH n H

    Gee, wonder what mysterious circumstances could have surrounded the house being burned. Was it burned? If so, is there a documented fire call for it? Was there an insurance claim? A perfectly good house torn down with the explicit intent of making a park with the explicit defined intent of forcing people to move? How…. How on earth does anyone consider the registry non-punative? This is as blatant as it gets, yet it will go unpunished.

  2. AvatarCJB

    MS SANDY….

    Please remember, the incorrect words may NOT be published, but they are said in various local and national newscasts….You would have to file a FOIA to each newscasting station to get the real data….those terms are always used in ’round table’ news discussion programs…..

    county and state legislatures use those pejorative terms etc… their round table discussions..

    that disgusting language is now apart of the culture of the USA….

    …I live on an island surround by WATA…so, I, tend to hear the lies, read the libel, and hear rage slander at a smaller pace

  3. AvatarJane Miller

    As a family member of a registrant and resident of IL, I am well aware that Patch is popular in our area, I am both heart broken and furious about this continuing saga. I WILL share it with the co-pastors of the church we attend (those parts of the year when it does not meet in a park). They are both aware of our situation and respect our efforts to keep a low profile.

    1. SandySandy

      Jane, Patch prints these types of pieces because their readers like them. They will continue to print them as long as they are liked. If you can, share by email with Patch also and let them know that, as a community member, you neither like nor approve of what they are doing.

  4. AvatarGeorge Simmonds

    Am curious has anyone tried to sue this Patch publication for printing defamatory articles? We do have the right of free speech and “new sources” do have a right to print stories yes they have a right to print that so and so committed a sex crime because that is a public record but if say they say John Doe is a pedophile when his crime is statutory rape of a 16-year-old, calling him a pedophile is not printing the truth but is inflammatory and designed to turn people against him, so does a “news source” have a right to print that? So shouldn’t that be grounds to sue them under First Amendment grounds?

    1. AvatarA Mistake They Made

      You would think this to be the case. Problem is they keep us poor so we cannot hire a lawyer and kick their buts in court!

    2. AvatarGW Teer

      Agree! That is the problem with the registry as well. People like the editor and other news sources have long been trying to force offenders out of areas.

      Offenders do have first person rights under a SCOTUS ruling. They were approved by someone to live there but now some real estate mogul or political mayor group wants to use trickery or force in removing them,

      No fire next door. No complaints from others in the area. Just some loudmouth trying to start problems because they saw names on a registry.

    3. AvatarTim in WI

      Sue who? Who is Patch? When patch uses the word sex offender or paedophile they’re not pointing to an individual, they’re gaslighting by stereotype. Only those who have grounds to file suit will be given opportunity by courts to prove to unlawful conduct against their liberty by defamation. Journalists can be subjected to such but only when it has merit. I believe Patch distorts truth and examples the worst of yellow journalism, however the Internet ( DDI) has exacerbated the disinformation problem. We still haven’t identified who actually runs Patch publishers!
      Why should the remain unknown individuals. If M. Zuckerberg made such statements, he’d be called out as the leader.

  5. AvatarNorthEastPA

    These are two names that really hit a nerve with me not only with this topic but many many others.

    “Fox News and Tucker Carlson”

  6. AvatarA Mistake They Made

    They will simply do what they want to achieve their goal of violating these peoples rights. Put another way they will use their power and authority to hurt other people. This will continue until it becomes a major hassle to do this, or it costs them too much. We as a group need to make it hard, and make them regret doing things like this (within the law of course). What would gay rights people do if the government singled them out? They should have a giant circus on the court house lawn in that town. What if their town was flooded with ex-sex offenders? I bet that would make them regret this right. They want to get rid of ex-sex offenders, lets give them an army of ex-sex offenders to worry about. They know regular people wont stand up and fight for ex-sex offenders. It makes you an automatic suspect sex offender, or in their words Pedophile. They never get a circus because who among us wants to draw attention to ourselves? How to protest without subjecting ones self to public humiliation, or possible vigilantism? There has to be a way to make things like fake parks to move people out not an option. Why is this not automatically a Grandfather clause issue anyway? The constitution never meant for the law to be weaponized against the people. This simply has to be a violation of law somehow.

  7. AvatarGW Teer

    There was a SCOTUS ruling that stated that “If an offender is living in the area first, he has first rights to residency.”
    There is no reason any city, county or state to force an offender from an area if they are there first. The only reason to force them completely out of an area that , such as in this case, the city wants to dominate the area and displace ones that have a right to be there.
    If the tenants of the apartment building have been approved to live there they have first rights. The city knew, had reason to know or should have known they were offenders before moving in and it is illegal for the city to force them to move as an excuse so they can build a park.
    I would be trying to find an attorney to fight this issue in Court and sue the city for all they can get. First file a cease and desist order to stop all progress until all courts have heard it.
    ANYONE can file a cease and desist order. After it is filed, then get the attorney involved.
    I agree with HnH and others. Patch has no right to cause slander through print or otherwise. The city must present to the public proof positive that a fire did happen and show reports.
    By trying to force these residents out is tantamount to real estate moguls forcing tenants out through false information or bribery. Each party to such action can and should be held liable for what they publish, state of do.
    That is the law.

  8. AvatarJB

    First of all I have not been able to read the article due to limited time. I also have only a quick second to say that BEING a pedophile is NOT against the law. Neither is being gay but if they had called it a “faggot farm” heads would be rolling in a court of law.
    Calling it a “pedo palace” is discriminatory and worthy of a law suit.

  9. AvatarWilliam M Hart

    The irony is not lost on me that it was a magazine article that
    helped get us in this position in the first place. An uncorroborated assertion in a 1986 Psychology Today article continues to influence the politicians who pass laws and the judges who uphold them. Justice Anthony Kennedy referenced this article in deciding
    two notorious cases deciding the fates of those convicted of a sex offense.
    In McKune v. Lile, a 2002 decision that upheld a mandatory prison therapy program for sex offenders, Kennedy said “the rate of recidivism of untreated offenders has been estimated to be as high as 80%,” a number he called “frightening and high.” He repeated that claim the following year in Smith v. Doe, which upheld retroactive application of Alaska’s registration requirements for sex offenders. As of 2015, according to a review published in Constitutional Commentary, Kennedy’s phrase had been echoed in 91 judicial opinions and the briefs filed in 101 cases.
    So it comes as no surprise that the written word is still being used to malign and vilify
    those caught up in these persecutions.

    1. AvatarA Mistake They Made

      The fact that this is true and can be proven makes me so mad. Why could someone on the registry no sue the SCOTUS for using bad data on a ruling? You would probably have to start at the state level. A simple case that the registry law is unconstitutional because it was created based on false data. Then loose, and appeal all the way up to SCOTUS where they would have to admit the data use in the famous SCOTUS case was in fact wrong and then they would have to judge on that. If you show the actual article as evidence and the SCOTUS ruling how could this not win?

    2. AvatarJeremy from Indiana

      The problem with this strategy is that SCOTUS doesn’t take every case. They only grant certiorari on a little over 300 cases per year. Thousands are submitted though, including cases pertaining to our plight as registrants. The only way they’ll take it up is if it’s a very, very clear cut case that it will be acceptable to the public (as in Packingham v NC). If we win in the states or district courts, the opposition never appeals to SCOTUS because they know what will happen; the decision for that state will be “in danger” of being nationwide. So, in practice, nothing ever gets done. They never appeal and when we do, we’re denied cert.

  10. AvatarMike

    Hello, you know you would think so. That’s defimation of character. Plus where is all of there Evidence for enacting all laws aimed at All Sex Offenders. They don’t have any, but there so much evidence that’s in our corner and proves the law makers are completely wrong for enacting most of those laws aimed at SO. They knew Recidivism rates for SO’s in 1994 before they enacted that law was 9% but they enacted it anyways in 1995. After 1995 Recidivism rates have been below 5%, from 1995 -2022, but nothing changes why, a 5th grader can see this. Is there a different reason for still doing what there doing and the Evidence is right in front of them that there wrong but they don’t change it. Heck I’m innocent and for real but was arrested and convicted. When I get this off me I’m gonna fight to change the laws and help where I can,
    Thanks Mike

  11. AvatarTim in WI

    Well? Who owns and operates Patch Press? It’s not as if such tactics ( yellow journalism) has been used to support a personal Agenda of very rich individuals. Patch may very well be driving a market, perhaps one exclusive to them. Who calls out FB without naming the leadership by name? If a registry can name names why doesn’t NARSOL do it with respect to Patch Publishers?

  12. AvatarRobert A

    Usually when a property is condemned and subsequently torn down, the only value is the land. Not the buildings that sit on it. Either the city got ripped off or the fire that happened there was a sham. The police won’t tell you if there really was a fire there but I bet the fire department would or red cross who put the family up who would have been displaced from that alleged fire. If one could prove the city is using this pocket park to harass those individuals, they’ll be out more than the 80 grand they wasted on that house. Ya, it’s safe to say, the city is playing with fire.

  13. Avatarmut

    i remember being “free to live where they want” being central to at least one courts rejection of an “affirmative disability or restraint” argument.

    like to see someone start with the citys waste of tax dollars. expose the councils misinformed uneducated bigotted decision making. sue the city. theyre the ones evicting the residents.

  14. AvatarShawn

    Could the home have had a historical marker? There has to be a nefarious reason for claiming it was fire damaged. This needs to be investigated. What are they hiding? It could be the thread that pulls the whole scheme apart.

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