Seattle Chinese Post
Public indignation was aroused in south Seattle when Joseph Aqui, a level III sex offender, was relocated into the Othello neighborhood without the knowledge of many of the nearby residents. Othello is a predominately Asian neighborhood.
As a result, representatives of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) met with more than 200 residents in a community meeting held at New Holly Gathering Hall on July 30. They explained the procedure of letting sex offenders go back to communities after serving their sentences and discussed topics such as sex offender registration and community notification.
During the meeting, Cap. Ronald Mochizuki and Lt. Whelen (first name unknown) explained the department’s handling of Joseph Aqui, and the concerns of attendees subsided a bit.
Convicted to nearly two dozen rapes and sexual assaults since 1973, Joseph Aqui is not under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. Before being relocated to south Seattle, Aqui lived in Lake Forest Park with a man who has a history of domestic violence. This living situation affected Aqui negatively.
Chris Jackson, Aqui’s lawyer, attended the meeting and pleaded that Aqui’s relocation was not because of re-offense. However, attendees were disgruntled since their research revealed that Aqui was forced out of Lake Forest Park by residents. He also admitted to “increased thoughts of sex and increased masturbation” to his therapist during a recent visit.
Currently, 150 registered sex offenders live in south Seattle, a multicultural ethnic community. Even though the SPD indicated that it had notified residents of Aqui’s relocation, Somali, Chinese, and Vietnamese attendees complained that leaflets were ony in English, and residents who don’t speak English well were not properly notified.
Many residents do not know that they have a sex offender in their neighbor. Moreover, attendees grumbled that they were never consulted by the city about discharged criminals moving into their neighborhood. They even alleged that Mayor Nickels saw south Seattle as a dump, and they would expel him in this year’s election. ♦
To appease residents from anxiety and fear, SPD suggest residents to log on www.sheriffalerts.com to inquire about sex offenders in neighborhoods and request e-mail notifications. To report, please call 206-233-5138.
Mei Lau contributed to this report.