A subsequent message from the parole officer I'd contacted about a sex offender who wanted to find out about visiting our church reveals that the state of Washington already has some pretty good restrictions in place for such people.
She advised me that in order to visit a place where youth and children congregate, a Level II offender must be in sexual deviancy treatment, must not have any violations while on parole, must have the permission of the parole officer, and must have an approved chaperone during the visit. She also encouraged me to give leaders a photo and information about the fellow, so that they can refuse him if he should try to visit without permission. She will notify me if he ever gets permission and what the conditions are. Then it's our job to become both welcoming and watchful, as long as he is in compliance.
I know that such systems are not always foolproof, but I feel reassured that there are procedures in place already to protect us and our children. I'm hopeful, too, that requiring one known sex offender to be in treatment, to be in compliance with the conditions of parole, to have the permission of his parole officer, and to have an approved chaperone whenever he visits a place where children and youth may be, that these conditions prevent one more kid from being exploited, prevent one more adult survivor from being thrown back into the hell of sexual abuse memories. I hope that this offender learns from the conditions imposed that, even though he may have been abused as a child, it is his responsibility to throttle the abusive nature that may be a result of that early abuse.
I hope he is wise enough to take the steps to prevent himself from abusing anyone else.