On October 25, 2020, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported that school officials said registered sex offenders could not live on college campuses in Denton. While a 2017 Texas law prohibits most registered sex offenders from living in on-campus housing at public and college campuses, the law leaves it up to universities to decide whether or not some low-risk offenders can live on campus.
Officials at the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University told the Record-Chronicle that offenders could not live on campus.
“My concern becomes for their safety as well as for the community’s safety,” Maureen McGuinness, UNT’s dean of students, told the Record-Chronicle. “If you’re on a list, that’s very public information. It becomes a problem for the safety of that individual and the perceptions of safety within the community. People say the word ‘sex offender’ and that scares everyone.”
McGuinness said this applied to low-risk offenders as well. The Texas Department of Public Safety classifies low-risk offenders as people who pose a low danger to the community and aren’t likely to engage in criminal sexual misconduct while moderate-risk is for those who may continue to engage in misconduct and high-risk are those who pose a serious danger to the community and will continue to engage in criminal sexual misconduct.
Matt Flores, a TWU spokesperson, told the Record-Chronicle that TWU does not allow registered sex offenders or individuals convicted of any felonies to live in residence halls. Lieutenant Ramona Washington confirmed only one student at UNT is an offender but does not live on campus. Texas’ statewide registry shows only one such student enrolled at TWU, and the student lives outside of Denton.
Washington said the UNT Police Department does not send out a notification to students if an offender is enrolled in classes, but they do send out crime alerts if there’s a concern for safety. McGuinness said they also check the registries quarterly to make sure it’s accurate.
A sex offender who wishes to go to school at UNT would have to contact the University Police Department to start the admissions process. Washington said the department then makes every effort to obtain records regarding the offense, and the dean of students would use that information to make a decision.
In reviewing documents for potential students, McGuinness said the university is able to rescind someone’s admission if they believe the applicant has violated community standards or if they could be a threat to the community.
Deanna Titzler, a TWU spokesperson, said the university also has a code of conduct to address students who have committed crimes. According to the university’s housing contract, TWU can modify a student’s housing contract if the student is charged or convicted of crimes against people or property, involved in conduct that threatens their safety or the safety of other student residents, or engaged in activity that violates university policy and/or federal, state and local laws.
Both UNT and TWU allow students to appeal housing termination.
Sex Crime Defense in Denton, TX
Sex crimes can be some of the toughest criminal allegations that a person can face because simply being arrested for one of these offenses can often lead many other people to immediately draw conclusions. Alleged offenders in these cases face an immense struggle to prove their innocence when they have been wrongly charged.
The unfortunate truth about sex crimes is that criminal charges could stem from a complaint filed by one person when the other thought they had engaged in a consensual encounter. Prosecutors are generally cautious in their selection of these cases because there will often need to be compelling evidence that will be needed to prove guilt to a jury.
The Texas criminal process does allow for an alleged offender to possibly clear their name, but it is not always an easy process. The relationships at the center of some sex crimes may add additional complications to certain cases.
Being ordered to register as a sex offender can be a humbling experience. In Texas, any person with a “reportable conviction or adjudication,” is required to register as a condition of parole or release to mandatory supervision, is required to register as a condition of community supervision, or is an “extra-jurisdictional registrant” must register as a sex offender.
The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program requires a local law enforcement authority to obtain the following information from the sex offender:
- The person’s full name, date of birth, sex, race, height, weight, eye color, hair color, social security number, driver’s license number, shoe size, home address or a detailed description of each geographical location at which the person resides or intends to reside, each alias, and any home, work or cell phone number of the person;
- A recent color photograph or, if possible, an electronic digital image of the person and a complete set of the person’s fingerprints;
- The type of offense the person was convicted of, the age of the victim, the date of conviction, and the punishment received;
- An indication as to whether the person is discharged, paroled, or released on juvenile probation, community supervision, or mandatory supervision;
- An indication of each business, occupational, or professional license, certificate, permit, or other authorization issued by a licensing authority that is held or sought by the person;
- An indication as to whether the person is or will be employed, carrying on a vocation, or a student at a particular public or private institution of higher education in this state or another state, and the name and address of that institution;
- The identification of any “online identifier” established or used by the person; and
- The vehicle registration information, including the make, model, vehicle identification number, color, and license plate number, of any vehicle owned by the person, if the person has a reportable conviction or adjudication for an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8) of the Texas Penal Code; or Section 20A.03 of the Texas Penal Code, if based partly or wholly on conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8) of that code.
Any other information required by the department (DPS) will also be obtained. Some of the most common sex offenses in Denton County include online solicitation of a minor, sexual assault, and prostitution or solicitation.
In some cases, record sealing or expungement can be enormously beneficial to individuals with sex crime convictions. In general, it is always best for a person accused of a sex offense to invest in a diligent criminal defense attorney to fight the criminal charges and pursue a complete dismissal.
Find A Denton County Defense Attorney for Sex Crimes Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Were you arrested for any kind of alleged sex crime in Denton or a surrounding area of Denton County? You should not delay in finding legal counsel for yourself to fight for your interests in court.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will provide an aggressive defense against your criminal charges and be with you the entire time so you never have to face anything by yourself. You can have us provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to schedule a free, confidential consultation.