Law requires little supervision of high-risk homeless sex offenders

Law requires little supervision of high-risk homeless sex offenders

PORTLAND, Ore. – How can a man just released from a hospital for sexual psychopaths and a history of snatching teenage girls off the street be allowed to roam free on the streets of Portland?

Gordon Michael Strauss is that man, and he's now homeless and living in Portland. He was convicted of four rapes since the early 1980s, and he grabbed two of his victims right off the street.

He's served his time in prison for his convictions and spent time in a Washington mental health hospital.

But he's not on supervised probation and he only has to check in with police once a year, around his birthday, unless he admits to moving. Under Oregon law there are no special check-in requirements for homeless sex offenders like there are in Washington. In that state homeless sex offenders have to check in with their county every week.

One Portland police officer believes the more lenient Oregon laws attract more homeless sex offenders.

“We have sex offenders moving from all over the country to our city to be homeless here,” said Officer Sara Clark. “We’ve had guys move up from sunny San Diego in December to be homeless in our city.”

She said she would like to see stricter laws and having a law like the one in Washington requiring homeless sex offenders to check in every week could help but it’s tough on resources.

“For them to come in weekly to check in, we’d have a line out the door every day,” Clark said. “(There are) so many sex offenders, a huge homeless population and not enough of us.”

Also, a lack of resources on the state level contributes to a delay in getting sex offenders, like Strauss, into the system. Right now Strauss is not listed on the state’s online Sex Offender Inquiry System and it could be another year before he is in the system.

But even without the delay, less than half of the registered sex offenders deemed predatory and high risk are posted online, and that’s because of requirements under Oregon law.

Strauss registered at Ninth and Lovejoy. He was not seen by a KATU News crew Friday. He can legally go wherever he wants as long as he comes back to the Pearl District downtown area and lives within a 10-block radius.

In the meantime, police just want to make the public aware that Strauss is free and could be dangerous.