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House of sex offenders between Henrico schools concerns neighbors

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – An old program for sex offenders has created new concerns in Henrico County. Michael Basle recently moved into a home along Strath Road in eastern Henrico. He said he had no idea there was a house of convicted sex offenders living next door.

“I’ve been told by police and the Varina district supervisor that they’re on medication, they’re getting counseling and treatment,” Basle said about the seven men who live in the home.

Some of the men were convicted of crimes including rape and having sex with minors, according to the state sex offender database.

The men have served their prison time and live in a home on Strath Road has part of a 90-day community treatment program. The men are monitored by police, staff and cameras set up throughout the property.

Despite the security, some neighbors said they felt this Varina neighborhood was not the right place for the home because it sits between two elementary schools.

“I think it’s too close. Yes, I do. Yes, it should be somewhere else,” neighbor Marjorie Marshall said.

Varina Elementary School is a little more than half-a-mile from the home. Mehfoud Elementary School is about one mile from the halfway house.

The home is far enough from the schools as to not violate state code. State law prohibits convicted sex offenders from living within 500 feet of a school.

Basle said considering the unique layout of his neighborhood, the state shouldn’t take a one-size fits all approach.

“Hopefully one day we can move them to a more distant area, away from these elementary schools,” Basle said.

Once the current group of sex offenders completes the 90-day program, a new group will move in.

The Virginia Department of Corrections helps run this private facility. A spokesman said there have been no reported incidents because of this home and reiterated the point at the home is compliant with all state laws.

19 comments

  • Art

    On one hand, no matter where ANYONE lives, they will always be in between two elementary schools. One could even say they are surrounded by elementary schools. This is just a crafty way the author and/or the people trying to get their point across to get your attention and make light of the point they want you to hear. The picture they are trying to paint is that the house of sex offenders is located by two elementary schools…not that the people living there have a right to do so. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to live near a house full of sex offenders either.

    • I live on Strath

      This is really splitting hairs. The point that you seem to not be able to comprehend is the proximity to the two schools. The home in question is separated by a thin piece of woods from Mehfoud Elementary, and within a short walking distance of Varina Elementary.

      Hopefully, when you have children, you won’t have such an apathetic and callous attitude.

      • Bec Gooden

        Finally, somone pointed out that the house is not a half mile a way from Mehfoud, but a very short distance through the woods. The woods are often used by children to cut through to get to over to Varina Elem and the football fields. This is not safe and we were never notified they were literally in our back yard!

  • Paula Kennedy

    It seems the felons always have the rights!!! I am a firm believer that these people can never be “cured” and will always be a threat to any child. What the heck is 500 feet going to do….keep them out of a neighborhood and locked in a prison cell!!

  • clayton

    Henrico county allows these homes everywhere.We have one in our backyard and the county protects them and their rights like you wouldn’t believe.The county claims they have a right under state law to live anywhere they want.These homes are a nightmare.The homes for youths can have sex offenders,rapist,robbers etc up to 18 and they don’t even have to tell residents.The whole thing has gotten out of control and they are popping up everywhere because its a money maker for the folks that run them.They abuse the police department,paramedics and all on the tax payers dime in most cases.

  • Varina

    Finally, this is getting attention. This is directly through the woods from my house. A neighbor of mine tried to get attention for this a few years ago, going as far to talking to Varina representitives and the Superintendent (Russo). I’m a Henrico teacher and even emailed both about my concerns, as an educator and parent. It was all brushed aside and we were told there was nothing we could do about it. When we researched it on the internet, it was even listed as a “Home for Children.” All lies! Most, if not all, of the offenders are listed as VIOLENT. We need to protect everyone from these disturbed individuals. We don’t want you near our kids or schools! GET OUT!

  • dave

    Henrico and chesterfield have become a safe haven for these “homes” due to the counties refusal to fight for their residents and instead they preach the poorly written state law that protects them.I urge everyone to call your state rep and ask how many of these homes are in their lush neighborhoods.These homes are nothing more then tax payer funded neighborhood prisons with no walls or guards to protect neighbors.They are a waste and drain on local police,paramedics and resources.The youth homes can have up to eight residents which can be sex offenders,robbers rapist etc and up to age 19 dont even have to report that to neighbors.We have one in our backyard and they have been nothing but trouble while the county protects their rights,my childrens right to play outside in our own yard has been taken.The people who run the private ones are in it for the money,non-profit my backside.The law needs to change and people must ban together and sue or do whatever it takes to keep these people away from our children.Again contact your senator and let them know enough is enough.

    • Varina

      This is not a bad neighborhood. Do some research BO. This isn’t in the more run down, close to the city Varina area. I’m sure by the lovely “you people” comment, you are a winner.

    • anonymous

      I’m sorry but you are misinformed about the area. It is a nice middle to upper middle class single family home area. Your full time opinion and part time knowledge is what makes your ‘you people’ comment frustrating. Varina’s response was spot on, and she was wise in not dignifying your response with a response. And no, I have no idea who he or she is.

  • Kevin

    Everyone goes after the sex offenders. You need to mind your own behavior as a parent and maybe that would help your children to a better life. Whether they live near you or not danger is everwhere. The person you least think will be the one to hurt your child will likely be the one to hurt your child. Be diligent about everything when it comes to protecting your children and not just focus on sex offenders. They need to get on with their live’s to and not hurt anyone else.

  • emily

    Henrico has become a safe haven for these homes.The county refuses to do anything but hide behind a poorly written state law.These homes are everywhere in the county and rob people of their neighborhoods and safety.The youth homes can have up to 8 people,sex offenders,rapist,violent felons and up to age 19 they dont even have to tell the neighbors.The private homes are run by folks out to make a buck off the tax payers back,non profit-my backside.Call your county leader and senator and ask how many of these homes are in their lush neighborhoods?Call your senator,state rep and county leader daily and voice your concern.These people will offend again and next it might be your family or children.We have one in our backyard that has been a nightmare since they moved in.While their rights are protected our children cannot even safely use our yard anymore.Again contact your leaders in your area and to those not concerned,you will be once one comes to your neighborhood,at the rate the county allows them it will be soon.Social services is in charge of watching most,yet social services has offices and works out of some of these homes,pretty much works for them.

    • I live on Strath

      Yes, I spoke to HCPS’s public safety division. Their exact response “It’s a legitimate business, everyone is safe.”

      The funny thing about the business (Strath House LLC) that runs 8267 Strath Road, their contact information is non-existent. You have to go through a myriad number of registered agents (lawyers hired to act as business contacts) to talk to anyone.

      This business run on Strath Road changes names every few years. It is barely legitimate, yet Henrico and the state are wholly supportive of the business.

  • Shelly Stow

    Paula, you are of course, along with the other posters, entitled to your opinion, but you need to know that it is contradicted by empirical evidence and practical results. Appropriate treatment programs designed for those who have committed sexual crimes have proved and are continuing to prove very effective.

    This specific program seems extremely well structured and monitored. If everyone everywhere demanded that their NIMBYism be catered to and treatment programs such as this one were disbanded everywhere, would you be happy then? Would you feel safer knowing that those coming out of prison for sexual offenses were not getting treatment and were just being released to make it on their own? For many, that would be fine, and they would make it with no problems, but for some this time of transition is valuable and provides improved public safety.

    Please do some reading of scholarly work on this subject, and peace and blessings to you.

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