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WW Housing Authority in litigation to evict sex offender

September 8, 2011

Angelena Chapman. Kent County Daily Times.

WEST WARWICK—Residents living in The West Warwick Manor have all been asking the same question: How was a registered sex offender able to move into a federally funded housing program?

According to Kristen Swanson, the executive director, the housing authority is taking responsibility for the administrative mistake and taking steps to evict the man.

“This was very clearly, on our part, a very grievous mistake,” she said at the town council meeting on Tuesday night, Sept 6. “There was information that the gentleman gave us that was overlooked, not noted.”

Swanson stated that the employee who made the mistake has been with the agency for 13 years and has never made a mistake before. They were stunned to discover this, she stated.

The man, Robert Davis, 70, was charged on two counts of unlawful sexual contact with two 9-year-old female victims known to the offender in Maine, according to information obtained from the State of Rhode Island Parole Board and Sex Offender Community Notification Unit.

His registered address in at the Manor and according to the State of Rhode Island, his parole will expire on Feb. 3 of 2015. The report also indicated that he was determined a Level II Offender.

According to Swanson, the overlook occurred as the housing authority performs a Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) check and were limited to the State of Rhode Island. Davis’s offense occurred in Maine.

The West Warwick Housing Authority is amending their system of evaluation, according to Swanson, to ensure that this does not happen again in the future.

“In terms of the application process, the course of action, we have changed what we are doing,” said Swanson, explaining that they will get records from the Attorney General’s office which still limits them to a background in Rhode Island. To address this issue, she explained that any applicant with a previous out-of-state address will be fingerprinted and will be forwarded over to LexisNexis for further investigation.

LexisNexis is a privately owned database that has connections with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) records, according to Swanson. If a criminal record is found, it will be sent over to the housing authority.

Swanson stated that any report indicating criminal background is reason to deny residency.

“[Anything] not conducive to the peaceful enjoyment of the facility—if someone has a history of domestic violence, simple assault—that would be reason to reject,” she stated.

Swanson also stated that the Manor holds two meetings yearly and the next one will be held in October. At this meeting, she plans to update the residents on the matter.

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