Convicted Sex Offenders in Massachusetts Taken on State-Sanctioned Field Trip to Circus

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 14, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight: In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, convicted sex offenders and mental patients are allowed field trips — field trips — as part of their rehabilitation.

Now, one of those trips was to a circus. That was last June. The problem? The rehab people were seated right next to children, prompting the local FOX station in Boston, WFXT, to investigate. Take a look.


MIKE BEAUDET, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER FOR FOX 25 IN BOSTON: The circus comes to Abington, and families fill the tent. Parents and their children take in the stunning sights.

But people here would be truly amazed if they only knew who's sitting in the crowd right near the kids: nine patients from the Lindemann Mental Health Center in Boston. A group of mentally ill patients includes a registered sex offender and others who are being treated for problematic sexual behaviors.

LAURIE MYERS, PRESIDENT OF COMMUNITY VOICES: You wouldn't take an alcoholic to a bar room on a field trip. You wouldn't take a drug addict to a pharmacy. Why would you take someone with sexually deviant tendencies to a circus with kids?

BEAUDET: Laurie Myers is president of Community Voices, a group that believes the state should be doing more to protect children from sex offenders.

MYERS: It's the circus. Kids are there. They can't bring them somewhere else? You know, I just — I don't get it.

BEAUDET: Well, get this. The circus isn't the only destination for these state-sponsored field trips. We obtained the list of recent outings. Highlights include going to a Celtics game, the New England Aquarium, the swan boats, the movies, apple picking and bowling. We sat down with Dr. Laurie Guidry, the director of the Department of Mental Health's mentally ill problematic sexual behavior program.

What is a problematic sexual behavior? What sort of things are we talking about?

LAURIE GUIDRY, MASS. DEPT. OF MENTAL HEALTH: We're talking about behaviors that range from individuals who may have been convicted of sexual crimes, individuals who might be required to register, all the way down to individuals who, as a result of their mental illness, may be engaged in just roving or something like that.

BEAUDET: Dr. Guidry says the field trips help patients transition back into the community.

Is it really appropriate to bring sex offenders and people with problematic sexual behavior to family events filled with children?

GUIDRY: I think it's appropriate for individuals who are under the care of DMH to be reintegrated into the community with a very careful plan in place.

BEAUDET: And that plan according to Dr. Guidry includes only allowing patients who've been OK'd by the clinical treatment team to go on the field trips.

GUIDRY: DMH does not allow individuals into the community that they would perceive as being a risk in any kind of way.

BEAUDET: That assertion, despite the fact that patients going on the field trips include level two and three sex offenders, who another state agency has classified as having a moderate or high risk of re-offending.

Dr. Guidry repeatedly stresses that patients are supervised. All the field trips include at least two staff supervisors.

GUIDRY: The thing to remember is that they're under supervision and they're being monitored.

BEAUDET: Would you want your child sitting next to a sex offender at the circus?

GUIDRY: I tell you what I would rather. I'd rather have my child sitting next to a sex offender who's being supervised, who's being treated, who's being managed and looked at and monitored, than the ones that I don't know about.

BEAUDET: About that supervision, Doctor, look what we discovered on the field trip to the circus. This woman is one of the people who's supposed to be supervising the patients, but once she's under the big tent, it's nap time. Ten minutes later, still sleeping. Twenty minutes after that, the circus noise disturbs her sleep, but just for a moment. She snuggles in for a little more shut-eye.

MYERS: It takes five minutes to molest a kid. It takes five minutes to do something. I mean, a sleeping person cannot keep track of seven, eight, or nine people, who have exhibited some kind of deviant behavior. How do you do that? You can't do that while you're sleeping.


O'REILLY: Joining us now from Boston, Mike Beaudet, the investigative reporter at FOX 25, who put that piece together. What is your reaction after you aired that?

MIKE BEAUDET, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER FOR FOX 25 IN BOSTON: Well, Bill, there was obviously the typical outrage, but then there's also people that say if it's going to happen anywhere, it's going to happen in Massachusetts. You got that culture here that seems to favor the rights of sex offenders over the safety of kids.

O'REILLY: Did you get any reaction that said look, these people have got to be rehabbed. You got to get them out. And you were unfair to them, you're demonizing them. Did you get any of that?

BEAUDET: We got a little of that. We heard some stuff on our Web site from people saying hey, look, these people need help. But then you heard the other people shouting, well, sure, they need help, but do we have to have them next to our kids?

O'REILLY: Yes, and I think a circus is inappropriate. I mean, bowling, I don't think I'd mind that. A Celtics game, I don't think I'd mind that. But a circus is something that is, you know, obviously going to attract children.

Now the state, you embarrassed them, Mike. You embarrassed the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


O'REILLY: Do they care? Are they complaining? Are they going to change?

BEAUDET: Well, we haven't heard anything from them. I've been trying to get more information about these field trips. The one thing that we do know is that there's actually been 10 field trips so far this year. That's more than last year altogether.

So they seem to be digging in. The one thing they won't tell us is where these most recent field trips, where the destinations are. So they're still having them. We just don't know where they're going now.

O'REILLY: All right, so they're stonewalling you. They haven't sat down for an interview. Well, you did get the one doctor, obviously. But who's in charge? Which state person is in charge of this whole deal?

BEAUDET: Well, we got Dr. Guidry as the person they've put out there. But ultimately, it's the Department of Mental Health. You know, it's the Public Health Department and then, you know, up to the governor. So what happens next...

O'REILLY: What does the governor say? What does Deval Patrick say? What does he say?

BEAUDET: He's not saying anything about it at this point. He's not talking.

O'REILLY: Yes, Governor Patrick is a little shy on a lot of these things. All right, Mike, let us know what happens. We appreciate it. Good report.

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