Free-Range Kids

Sex Offender on Oxygen Forced to Move into Tent in Woods Because of Insane Residency Restrictions

The man had no idea there was a home daycare center within 1,000 feet of his new house.


Lila Folster

Steven Larry Folster has severe respiratory problems and is supposed to spend eight hours a day on oxygen. Unfortunately, he has just been forced to move into a tent in the woods, in the middle of winter in South Carolina. He is only allowed to be at home for 6 hours a day, max, or he could be arrested.

Almost 30 years ago, Folster was convicted of molesting his nephew. That crime that sent him to prison for nearly 10 years.

Now he is middle-aged and married. The couple is very poor. Recently, though, the Folsters found a house that fit their requirements. It was small enough for them to be able to afford and was not near any child gathering place—or so they thought.

They were allowed to register their new address on September 1 and proceeded to move in. But then, lo and behold, once they'd settled in they were informed they can't actually live there—there's a daycare center (perhaps in a home, it's not visible) 800 feet from them. Local law says registrants must live at least 1000 feet from any place children gather.

Lila Folster, Steven's wife, sent me the following letter:

Dear Free-Range Kids: My husband, who is very sick, is being given 30 days to move out of our home because of a daycare 862 feet from us.

We were told by the registration office that it was a state law and there was nothing they could do about it…

The woman that is in charge of the registration department swears we didn't notify her of the address change prior to moving in. I have documented proof that we DID! We would never have continued to move into a house where we knew there were restrictions against us being there….

As you can imagine we are both in shock. We are on a fixed income, so we were barely able to afford this move, let alone turn around and try to move again.

My husband will be moving into a tent in the woods tomorrow until we can figure out what else to do so that he can avoid being arrested in the meantime.

I'm not sure that a neighborhood is really any safer with a man living in the woods. But that's exactly what happened next. Steven moved into a tent.

Sandi Rozek, communications director for the group Reform Sex Offender Laws, has been in touch with the family and reports on the organization's website that the only reason Steven had to move out of his house was that the neighbors complained. Since the house is only 130 feet too close to the daycare center, the police said they would have let it go.

But now, the police told them:

If there are any complaints there, at the tent, he [Steven] will be required to move again.

The same officer told the family that Steven is only allowed in his real home 6 hours a day… even though he is supposed to spend 8 hours a day on his oxygen machine, plus 4 nebulizer treatments each day. Without this, he could die.

And yet, if Steven overstays his 6 hours and someone complains, he could be sent back to prison.

This past week, there was rain. The tent leaked. Several nights the temperature has dropped into the 30s. Steve is 6'6 and now weighs under 150 pounds. As RSOL reports:

Two hours of oxygen on the portable tanks is far, far short of what he should be getting, but that requires his equipment and electricity, and his tent has neither.

One neighbor who didn't complain about Steven was kind enough to offer him a bigger tent, at least.

It's time to start asking local lawmakers why we have these arcane residency restrictions. The fact that they have not been shown to make children any safer doesn't seem to matter. It's a moral quarantine more than a real crimestopper. As Jill Levenson at Barry University in Miami, Florida, has noted:

…sexual recidivists do not appear to live closer to schools or parks than non-recidivists, suggesting that residential proximity to such venues is not a contributing factor to re-offending. Furthermore, sex offenders rarely prey on young children in or near parks, libraries or schools and sexually motivated abductions of children are very rare events. Laws restricting where sex offenders live or work will do little to prevent the most common circumstances in which children are sexually abused, through positions of authority and familiarity.

In other words, the tools we're using to make kids safer don't actually do anything of the sort. But they do make guys on oxygen move into tents, decades after they finished paying their debt to society.


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  1. Wow – it’s almost like these laws are designed to make the problems worse. I mean, if I didn’t know any better.

    1. You usually don’t.

    2. And laws like this are EXTREMELY difficult to get rid of. If a lawmaker even suggests that the law should be slightly altered, much less repealed, the cries of “ZOMG you pervert why do you hate the children!!!!111” from the pearl-clutchers are frequent and unending, you’re indelibly branded as “soft on crime/soft on sex offenders” by your political opponents, and when re-election rolls around, you’re gonna have to work a hundred times as hard to avoid getting primaried.

      Getting rid of laws like this is either gonna take a sympathetic Supreme Court, a public referendum for a constitutional amendment, or a perfect storm of positive support from the people, enough representatives/senators who don’t give a shit about their phoney baloney jobs, and a libertarian-leaning executive signing the bill into law.

  2. “The woman that is in charge of the registration department swears we didn’t notify her of the address change prior to moving in. I have documented proof that we DID!”

    Looks to me like the registration department screwed up, and they should be free to sue the government for causing them so much grief.

    Looks to me like this is an example of the law working properly in prohibiting a convicted molester from moving near a daycare center. Using an analogy, if some cop brutalized a shoplifting suspect, that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be any laws against shoplifting. That means there should be laws against police brutality.

    Sounds to me as though these people have excellent cause to sue, and I bet they can find an enterprising lawyer somewhere who will take their case on contingency.

    If the sex offender registry itself needs to go, however, I’m not sure it’s because of this case.

    1. Ken, you seriously believe this is “an example of the law working properly”? A man with serious medical issues is forced to live in a tent, and you give it two big thumbs up?

      1. Maybe he shouldn’t have plowed his little nephew’s asshole.

        1. Maybe he should still be in prison then.

        2. Being convicted of molestation doesn’t justify cruel and unusual punishment.

        3. I should add, being convicted of molestation doesn’t justify cruel and unusual punishment, and being relegated to live in a tent despite needing eight hours of oxygen a day isn’t what this guy was sentenced to.

          He was sentenced to having his living arrangements approved by the registry.

          He complied with that, but the registry apparently screwed up. That isn’t his fault. Far as I’m concerned, anyone who has their rights violated by the government has the right to restitution.

          The government should have to pay him millions for this. They violated his rights with their incompetence.

          1. They should maybe fix this, but the concept of paying Chester millions for circumstances related to him viciously fucking his nephew is obscene.

            1. They should pay this human MILLIONS. The US unfortunately is filled with biased pieces of trash like you.

              1. You mean people who don’t like child rapists? Goddamn right. I’m biased against them. You must be the kind of biased piece of shit that lets them off easy for sodomizing little kids. Or maybe you just like cheese pizza for yourself.

            2. This had NOTHING to do with whatever he did to his nephew. He was already convicted of that, and already served his sentence and paid his debt to society. The offices in charge of the registry screwed up, and they have to remedy the situation. To suggest otherwise means you don’t give a shit about the rule of law, justice, or checks and balances, and you want a banana republic or police state with FYTW as the motto.

              Yes, I have kids. And I have to think about what the hell they’d have to go through if they got framed for a sexual offense or any other crime for which they’d get treated like shit by the authorities.

          2. No, Ken; he was sentenced to ten years and he served it; he has not offended since. He was not sentenced to having the registry verify living conditions because the requirement to register is not part of sentencing. It is a requirement that is triggered by a sexual offense conviction. Up until recently, courts have maintained that the registry is not punishment but a “regulatory scheme.” More recent courts are seeing it for what it is, continuing punishment that lasts a lifetime and does nothing for public safety.

        4. Maybe he shouldn’t have plowed his little nephew’s asshole.

          “Plowed”? Did you ever stop to think that maybe it was just the tip, you judgmental bastard?

          1. And, I would think a hand job or oral sex would still be sexual molestation. Too many assumptions are being made about the old case, that was not discussed at all!

      2. “Ken, you seriously believe this is “an example of the law working properly”? A man with serious medical issues is forced to live in a tent, and you give it two big thumbs up?”

        From what I can tell, a man with serious medical issues isn’t being forced to live in a tent because of the sex offender registry.

        A man is being forced to live in a tent because the registry screwed up his approval to live at this address.

        Again, THIS TIME, the problem doesn’t appear to be the sex offender registry law itself.

        The problem appears to be that the registry misbehaved.

        If the police misbehave and brutalize an armed robbery suspect, that doesn’t mean we should repeal laws against armed robbery. The problem isn’t the law against armed robbery. The problem is police brutality.

        Because the sex offender registry screwed up this guy’s application doesn’t we should repeal the sex offender registry either. It means the sex offender registry should be held responsible for screwing up his application.

        If we want to convince people that we should get rid of the registry, show people who shouldn’t be on the list but get on it anyway because the law is unworkable.

        1. To be fair, Lenore does plenty of that too.

          1. Absolutely, and I’m a fan of Skenazy’s work.

            I just don’t think this is a strong example for why the registry needs to go.

            People on the registry are properly given permission for their living arrangements every day.

            This is apparently a case of bureaucratic incompetence–not a failure inherent within the law.

            The law not being able to distinguish between junior high kids sharing selfies and child pornographers is an excellent reason to get rid of the registry.

            The law absurdly making a 17 year +1 day-old register as sex offenders because of his 16 year -1 day-old girlfriend is an excellent reason to get rid of the registry.

            Bureaucratic incompetence, on the other hand, is an excellent reason to reform the bureaucracy.

            1. Yeah, that sort of thing cheapens the idea of real sex crimes.

            2. I would have thought after 20 years of stories like this you and others like you would come to the logical conclusion that our incompetent government could never limit such an unsightly lit to repeat offenders as was intended by the Jacob Wetterling Act and reasonably conclude that the registry itself is the root of the problem. But then I realize I’m expecting too much from a country that elected a reality TV star as our president and folks are willing to take loaded guns into pizza joints looking for sex slaves because they read it on the Internet.

              1. so, the new thing is pizza joints looking for sex slaves? Sounds pretty unlikely to me… but then, I guess I just don’t get out much. Certainly not to that kind of pizza joint.
                And what difference does taking a gun, loaded or otherwise, into any pizza joint? I do it on a regular basis. Why? Because it seems wise. Same reason I carry it into the bank church, parks, theatres, city hall, Safeway and Costco, on the bus, riding my bike… so what’s the big deal about adding a pizza joint to the list? Particularly one looking for sex slaves? I doubt I’d be a candidate in whom they;d be interested, so its no issue to me.

        2. How about the fact that there is no evidence supporting the value of public notification and especially not residency restrictions?

    2. I’m a heavily-armed father of a daughter in daycare, and nothing puts me in papa bear attack mode faster than the notion of a stranger showing a shade too much interest in my kid, so you can imagine how I feel about the prospect of a convicted child molester. With that said, either the guy paid his debt and is unlikely to re-offend or he’s not; if it’s the latter, he should be in prison or, frankly, dead. If it’s the former, he deserves to be treated just like anyone else.

      1. I’m in favor of getting rid of the registry.

        I’m in favor of defendants being free to waive their right to a public trial, too–just like they can waive their right to a jury trial, their right to remain silent, or their right to an attorney. That way, their convictions wouldn’t be part of the public record.

        Why should the government make your convictions public information that can be used by potential employers to discriminate against you . . . forever?

        If you want your personal details to be part of the public record to help ensure that you’ll be treated fairly at trial, you should have that right. Otherwise, the government is effectively imposing a sentence against you after trial long after your probation period, even, is over.

        Was being put on the registry part of a plea bargain deal? Was it a condition of probation? At that point, the question of whether he should be treated like everyone else gets murky.

        But, anyway, yeah, I’m against the registry. I just don’t think this is a good example of why we need to get rid of the registry.

  3. “The woman that is in charge of the registration department swears we didn’t notify her of the address change prior to moving in. I have documented proof that we DID!”

    Is it too much to ask that the author actually provide some confirmation of this claim? . Might help attract the attention of a pro bono attorney liking to raise the due process angle. Alternately is failure to properly notify of an address change a violation? If so maybe someone could ask why this guy hasn’t been charged?

    I’m sympathetic to anyone who runs afoul of bureaucratic incompetency, but need to know that the details have been well and truly nailed down before going off about it.

    1. looking, not liking

  4. in the middle of winter in South Carolina.


    Camped in Florida in June and Kentucky/Tennessee in Aug. this year. December in S. Carolina sounds fucking nice.

    1. I don’t want to be forced to camp anywhere–especially if I need oxygen for eight hours a day.

    2. I guess freezing temperatures do sound “nice” when you were camping in extreme heat both times. However when those temperatures are mixed with alternating pouring rain, severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado warning with a tornado sited head straight for your town (where his campsite is deep in the woods) it is definitely NOT nice when his breathing difficulties are triggered by cold, moisture and lack of oxygen.

    3. “December in S. Carolina sounds fucking nice.”

      Depends on where in South Carolina – The coastal area, sure. The midlands, maybe. The upstate (near the mountains), you will freeze your ass off.

  5. In other words, the tools we’re using to make kids safer don’t actually do anything of the sort.

    It’s not really about making kids safer, it’s about making certain other people into non-persons. That way the rest of us have someone to look down our noses at. It seems to be just part of human nature to want/ need some designated “other” so that everyone else, no matter how worthless they may actually be, can have someone to feel superior to and treat like shit.

    1. Or maybe it’s about increasing the cost of commiting inexcusable actions? Honestly the only person who seems to be in superiority mode is you.

      1. add me t that list.. he’s spot on. These laws are imposed by meddling nanny types looking to punish certain classes of people long after they’ve suffered the due consequences of their immoral actions. Thing is, these laws mostly impose the “values” of some superiority complexed meddlers not content with someone “just” doing their prescribed time. And mamny times the axe of these laws falls on those of marginal category…. as mentioned above, the guy who’s been lying with his girlfriend of a couple years, she still a day under sixteen, he a day over 18.. that suddenly makes what had been going on a long time a felony of sex-offender category. And this is right? No way. We’ve all seen twelve year old females could pass for eighteeen, and are not above lying about their age to get what they want. Some one of these jailbait jamtarts gives the eye and pouty lips to some overly horny young chap and he believes her… until he’s busted for carrying on with a fourteen year old……. and the rest of his life is turned into a hell.
        Sure, the right thing to do is to keep it zipped until your wedding day, but consider what kids are taught in grade schools these days… and encouraged to “experiment” and “experience”. All with NO moral context. And we wonder WHY kids are so sexually promiscuous? Planned Baby Death are always llooking for new customers, and encouraging such activity by managing the education materials is a great business model.

      2. It’s about authoritarian scumbags making themselves feel good while violating the Constitution. The courts can rule that these registries and restrictions aren’t punishments all they want, but they are just doing that because they care more about upholding policies they like than defending the highest law of the land. In some cases, new restrictions are imposed on people who had already been convicted, meaning that they’re being subjected to brand new punishments without due process. If you applaud these laws, you are opposed to freedom, opposed to justice, and opposed to the Constitution.

  6. What sort of inhumane monster puts a daycare center within a thousand feet of a convicted child molester? I say we name and shame the heartless bitch putting profits above children’s lives.

    1. I’m wondering whether the distance to the day care centre is measured straight line to any part of that lot from any part of his lot, or by the diatance one would have to walk or drive to get from one to the other. BIG difference in actual proximity, and also practical “risk”. If the place is two streets away and he has to walk half a mile round some long blocks to get there, what’s the point?

      When the Gun Free School Zones Act was passed, it made it a felony for anyone to possess a firearm within 100 feet of any school… any part of the school property. Even if that back fence was up against a freeway… every motorist passing bt that was armed broke that law. I checked a map of where I live, and there was NO ROUTE betwen my house and any freeway access point that did not take me within 1000 feet of some part of some school property. Getting my Mother May I Card to carry, and not having any intent to use the firearm to harm anyone without just cause gave me an exemption. But I had to think how stupid the gummit wackoes were to make a law like that. Its not as if I’m completely safe 1001.5 feet from that back fence corner, but as soon as I walk one yard toward the corner of that fence, every kid in that school is at risk of instant death because of my stupid .38 Special six shooter.
      Same with this guy. He’s no more risk at 832 feet than he would one more lot further away on the same street, and 1002 feet. Get real…


  8. The day care center could have a fire, total loss, know what I mean?

  9. Sounds to me like execution ex post facto.

  10. You know who else forced people into a camp situation?

    1. Was it someplace they could concentrate?

      1. Good answer. You get a gold star.

        1. not a yellow one?

          1. Equally good answer! Thank you!

  11. Would it be too much to ask the state of South Carolina to openly publish on the Internet all places that child molesters have to stay away from? A geo aware app could be made using that list and then when somebody on the list is going house hunting, they can just pop up the app and get a green light/red light based on the state list.

    It’s not like the state doesn’t already have the list and these places locations. They just have to publish it and issue a press release.

    1. The guy committed a crime, was punished and has served his time. I dont see why he should be treated any differently from any other normal citizen.

  12. The side effect of this sort of ridiculous legislation is that people will stop taking real sex offenders any seriously. They will just ignore.

  13. The public sex offender registry should come down for many reasons, not for this specific case but for the conglomerate of harm done to registrants and family members because of it. However, the primary reason that it should come down is that it serves no public safety benefit. It is the biggest case of taxpayer waste and fraud ever visited upon the public. I protest my taxes being used for something that is predicated upon a lie and totally ignores all research done on the subject.

  14. the reason the registry needs to be completely overhauled to include only the worst of the worst..

    I really wish you,the media, and any other organization would stop publishing, producing or relying on reports and opinions from law makers or any organizations about how effective sex offender registration and notification laws are. They are using false statistics and pure myths to further their personal agendas under the guise of protecting children. None of these failed policies have achieved any positive results in the US and are in fact destroying the lives of thousands of innocent children and their families because one of their parents or family members are on such a registry. Individuals and organizations should have enough integrity to investigate their claims before they publish it or rely on it and be sure that there is some credibility to it and not just a platform to exploit children for personal gains or their proffesional careers. Here are some facts from the leading authorities on this subject which indicate that there is no need or justification for these laws. There has not been a single incidence in which a person was apprehended or prevented from committing a crime anywhere or anytime in this country. These laws are absolutely useless and are a waste of tax dollars and are a misplaced use of valuable law enforcement and government agency resources. Here are the facts from the leading authorities on this subject…

    1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13)

      Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety.

      The full report is available online at.

  15. National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America.

    The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses

    The full report is available online at. https://www. ID=247350

  16. These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community.

    People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following.

    California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB)

    Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30)

    The full report is available online at…..6-2015.pdf

  17. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38)

    Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8%

    The full report is available online at. url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1= 0 CCEQFjAA&url=http:/% Research_ Branch/Research_ documents/Outcome_ evaluation_ Report_2013.pdf= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo= AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ


    Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today.

    The full report is available online at.

    ive had to break the url’s up because they eete to long..figure it out…

  18. Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013

    Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates.

    The full report is available online at. pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf

    Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy.

    A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7%

    Link to Report: files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf

  19. Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009.

    The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%

    Link to Report:

    Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so.

  20. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do.

    From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M.

    For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars ? every year ? for something that doesn’t work.…..ts_JJ.pdf.

  21. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth.

    Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country.

    I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject.

    Thank you for your time.

  22. I can provide you with study after study that all come to the same conclusions as stated above..There are absolutely zero studies that contradict the studies I have provided…If anyone still believes that we need a registry or that the registry doesn’t need a complete overhaul then they either don’t care about facts or have some kind of mental disorders and should be checked out by a professional….

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