PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Name of Nonviolent Sex Offender Is Added to Publicly Available Roll
Friday, September 22, 2006
A local aquatics director's fight to keep his name and incest conviction hidden from public scrutiny ended yesterday with him added to Virginia's sex-offender registry.
The man, who was convicted of having a sexual relationship with his sister about 12 years ago, filed suit against the state and Prince William County using the name "John Doe." Last week, a Prince William judge ordered him to register or face arrest.
He was one of the first "nonviolent" sex offenders to file suit after the state's online registry expanded to include all offenders -- not just those convicted of violent acts. Officials said yesterday they hoped the outcome of his case would deter others who might have been planning to challenge the new law.
"Nobody is above the law," Prince William Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert said. "I think this will send a message to a lot of people who might think like he thought. The law does not have any exemptions."
The new regulations require that all offenders' names, photos and professions be posted on the Internet. The litigant's information was added yesterday, according to law enforcement sources.
To protect his victim's identity, The Washington Post is not naming the man. Details about him on the registry include that he is 31 years old and lives in Dale City.
The man, through his attorney, Melinda VanLowe, declined to comment yesterday. VanLowe said only that she and her client are weighing their options and have not yet decided whether to appeal.
Jill Brown, vice president of the firm where the man worked, said yesterday that he was the aquatics director at the Woodbridge Sport and Health Club but that he is no longer employed there.
She would not say when his last day was or whether he was terminated because of the registry or left the job voluntarily. As aquatics director, his duties included overseeing swimming lessons, the pool and lifeguards. Brown said he could have worked with anyone, from young children to adults.
He also coached the Dale City swim team, working with swimmers ages 5 to 18.
One parent whose child took classes with him said she never saw any inappropriate contact between him and the children but that she worries more about how the children will fare after learning of this side of a man they knew only in a positive, role-model capacity.
"If they happen to wear their swim team shirt to elementary school, are a bunch of kids going to start taunting them with things they don't even understand?" the parent said, asking not to be named to protect her child. "We need to think of that aspect of our children's lives."