By Sandy . . . Siegfried Hepp, Jr., according to Village-News.com, a registered sexual offender in Florida – although not in Connecticut where he was convicted – was forced to leave his father’s home where he had just moved. The home at 1214 Maria Court, Lady Lake, Florida, is, it seems, a tad too close to something called the Rio Grande Family Pool, which is three streets away on Rio Grande Ave.
Since then, Mr. Hepp has lived in motels and has changed motels three times as of this writing, driven quite possibly, at least in part, by financial concerns.
IF Mr. Hepp is a risk to public safety after more than twenty years of not offending, is he more of a risk living with his father, where he is needed, supported, and stable, or bouncing around the county or the state on his own from one cheap motel to the next? Mr. Hepp, Sr., is 84; would not the presence of his son in the home be helpful to him, even needful?
While some sources, in reporting about Hepp’s background, write that he was an adult actor in the situation that would put him in the spotlight, other sources report that the man who claimed Hepp molested him years before testified that he himself was a young scout and Hepp an older scout in the same troop.
In what would become a somewhat infamous trial, the accuser filed a suit against the Boy Scouts of America, making the claim that the organization failed to protect him from the action of the older boy, Hepp. A seven million plus dollar settlement was awarded in late 2014, only to be overturned by the Connecticut Supreme Court two years later.
While the suit was prefaced on Hepp’s actions, Hepp was not an accused nor a defendant in the trial, which comports more accurately with Hepp’s being a minor himself. The sole defendant was the Boy Scouts of America.
Hepp did become a scout leader with BSA, and his conviction was in late 1999 for touching a youth in a sexual manner. He was sentenced to probation and served ten years on the Connecticut sexual offense registry with that requirement being completed the end of 2019 or the first of 2020.
He surfaced again in 2008 when he was employed by Eastern Mountain Sports, a clothing retailer. He had given a demonstration at a park in Danbury, Connecticut, at Winterfest, an annual popular event. His name was recognized by a local policeman as someone on the registry, and he was officially notified that the law prohibited him from being at a park. His employer voiced agreement with the law; whether Hepp was relieved of his position with the company is not said, and no more is heard until he moved to Florida where his elderly father is and was denied his father’s house as a legal address as he is on the Florida registry.
Hepp has never been charged with a crime in Florida as far as can be determined. He has not been convicted of a crime in Florida. For Florida, neither is necessary to be included on their sex registry. Just stepping foot in the state, staying for 48 hours, and coming to the attention of law enforcement by any means will put a person on the Florida registry for life even if they are no longer required to register in their state of conviction, which is the case with Hepp.
Florida seems to have some special reason for keeping as many as possible on its registry. Several states keep registrants listed for a while after they have died; some on Florida’s registry have been dead for many years. The state’s goal appears to be to have the nation’s largest registry.
And thus a man who was convicted of a sexual crime in Connecticut and satisfied every aspect of obligation toward that crime in Connecticut is forbidden, in a state at the opposite end of the country, to reside in his 84-year-old father’s home where he is wanted and needed but instead forced to move from spot to spot to spot in order to be in compliance with the law.
What element of this makes any sense?
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.