Steven Powell's notoriety, media attention could prevent early release

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 6:20 PM

Steven Powell is once again searching for a home to move into after prison and, according to the Department of Corrections, finding one may be hard to do.

The convicted sex offender's history may make him too difficult for any halfway house to take in.

Powell was convicted of 14 counts of voyeurism. Good behavior in prison earned him early release, and a transitional house for sex offenders in east Tacoma was willing to take him in.

But the landlord says she changed her mind after a media report publicized his new address and he started getting threats. She didn't want to jeopardize his safety and the safety of her other tenants.

"In light of the latest circumstances we might be hard pressed now to find a property owner that would be willing to take him," said Mac Pevey, community corrections regional administrator.

The problem is, Powell is not only blamed for his sex offenses, but in the public's eye, he's guilty by association for the crimes of his family. His son Josh, while a person of interest in his wife's disappearance, killed himself and his two sons by setting their house on fire.

Susan Powell's body was never found, and police believe Steven Powell knows more about the case than he's letting on.

Those unanswered questions, along with his sordid history, will draw extra scrutiny when he walks out of prison.

"An offender of this notoriety, I don't know if I've seen outside of Mary Kay Letourneau," said Pevey, "but certainly in case of notoriety, Mr. Powell takes the cake."

Jim Tharpe, who has five sex offenders living at this home in south Seattle, says the last thing any transitional home needs is negative attention.

"He becomes an individual that stands out in the community," said Tharpe. "And homes like mine where we are not trying to be at the forefront of any controversy, it makes it extremely difficult to service someone like that."

D.O.C. says it's in the public's best interest that he finds a home and soon. His sentence will "max out" in March of 2014, and that point he can leave prison even if he's homeless.

"An offender with an address is better than an offender without an address," said Pevey.

Powell will be required to wear a G.P.S. locator for the first 30 days of his release, whenever it happens.

He'll also have to attend a sex offender treatment program and be monitored by a probation officer.




 

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