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Neighbors upset about convicted sex offender living at Culpeper group home.
BY DONNIE JOHNSTON
Three neighbors of a small home for veterans in a rural part of Culpeper County have turned to the Board of Supervisors for help, saying they are concerned for their safety.
Kristie Vick said that while checking the list of registered sex offenders, she came across the name of a man now living at the Compassion House who was convicted of two "violent" rapes in Fairfax County in 1983.
She added that he was also convicted in Hampton in 2010 for failing to register as a convicted sex offender.
"I am fearful for my kids," Vick said at Wednesday's board meeting. "Something needs to be done about this quickly."
Vick said the man in question had done nothing illegal in Culpeper as far as she knows.
But she but added, "He has been seen standing in the driveway and talking to the kids."
She said having someone with his history living in her neighborhood and sometimes walking up Gravel Road makes her nervous.
Vick said she contacted the School Board about the situation, and as a result buses now pick students up at their homes rather than at a common stop along the quiet lane.
"The School Board acted very responsibly," Vick said. "I hope this board will, too."
Debra Schupp told the board that when the neighborhood complained about the Compassion House in 2007, "We were guaranteed that the people who run the place would do background checks and that there would be no criminals there."
Schupp added that the knowledge that a registered sex offender is living in her community has altered her lifestyle.
"I usually walk during the day, but now I don't," she said. "Women who stay home are worried about themselves and their kids."
Mark and Yolanda Dean opened the Compassion House just north of Brandy Station in April of 2007. Linda Thompson, who volunteered at the facility for homeless veterans at that time, told the Board of Supervisors in May of that year that no drugs or alcohol were allowed there.
"These vets are going to be taken care of," said Thompson, who is associated with the Culpeper Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
According to neighbors, the veterans turn over all or part of their government checks to the Compassion House in exchange for a home, food and care.
Attempts to reach the Deans and the Compassion House were unsuccessful. There is no telephone listing for either.
Supervisors Chairman Bill Chase told the complaining neighbors that he was aware of the problem but was not sure what the county will be able to do.
"We called and found out that the telephone had been disconnected," he told the audience.
Chase added that the Sheriff's Office has been made aware of the situation.
"The sheriff said he would add extra patrols in the area," he said.