Levenson Shares Expertise in Newsweek Article, Videos

Published Jul. 27, 2009

Jill Levenson, associate professor and chair of human services in the College of Arts and Sciences at Lynn, often quoted for her expertise and views on sexual offender residency laws, adds Newsweek to her ever growing list of media hits.

A licensed clinical social worker who got her start 20 years ago as a child protection social worker, she is a nationally known expert on sexual violence and has become a respected authority on, among other things, laws aimed at protecting children while punishing, tracking and rehabilitating sex offenders.

The Newsweek article, and accompanying 2-part video, focuses its piece on a group of sexual offenders living under the Julia Tuttle Causeway as a result of the housing restrictions that have been imposed on them.

Fresh on the heels of her appointment as chair of a sexual offender task force created by Broward County Board of County Commissioners, Levenson was quoted and filmed by Newsweek for her expertise and experience on the subject and who says about the restrictions in the article: "there is no evidence that [they] protect children. In Iowa, for example, there was no reduction in the number of reported sex crimes after the restrictions took effect, she says.”

At the heart of the “other side” of the story is Ron Book of Plantation, Fla., who as a result of his own daughter’s abuse, became a champion of legislation to restrict sexual offenders, especially the local residency law. According to the Newsweek story, he began to reconsider his position and in an interview with a Newsweek reporter in June, he admitted, "I was wrong"--three times. A few days later he had dinner with Levenson.

“Five years ago, I thought of you as a predator sympathizer," he told her. "I didn't see the bigger picture." He concluded the evening by assuring her, "I will be part of the solution."

The issue is on newsstands now. Read the full Newsweek article and watch the videos on Newsweek's website.