Story by: Editor in Chief Angela Graf & News Editor Harley Harrison
Do you know who’s living next door?
Ferris junior Krista Bowles and her three roommates do. After re-signing the lease on their off-campus duplex in spring 2017, they arrived back in August. At that time, two of the women noticed a strange man in the house next door watching them move in.
“The girls were concerned and they went on the sex offender registry and they found him on there,” Bowles’ mother, Tami Bowles said. “That’s how creeped out they were. When Krista told me about this the following week, I went on there and saw that there were three of them in the same residence. So that’s when I was like, ‘This is not right. This is more than just a sex offender living in the area.’”
Tami Bowles came to find out that there were four recent parolees living in the residence next door, three of which are registered sex offenders. After contacting the Central Area Prison Reentry Initiative, she found out that the residence was a transitional home.
Transitional homes, commonly known as “halfway houses,” provide a temporary residence for felons for up to 90 days after they are released.
As part of this arrangement, parole officers are at the house on a daily basis because they take the parolees to and from work.
The ladies’ landlord, Sue Glatz at Silvernail Realty, is not concerned about the new living situation.
“The girls, or I should say women, are of age. I trust that they’re smart enough to lock their doors,” Glatz said.
Glatz also said it’s inappropriate that Bowles’ mother is contacting her rather than letting the young women handle it themselves.
“Only one mother is calling, there are four girls living in that house,” Glatz said. “Your child is putting their name on the dotted line… your child is paying rent.”
Tami Bowles is upset with the situation and Glatz’s apparent apathy.
“[Glatz] said that she’s not letting them out of their lease and that she doesn’t talk to parents,” Tami Bowles said. “If the girls have a problem with it, they have to contact her themselves and they did contact her asking to put a deadbolt on their house. Her response was ‘I’m not putting a deadbolt on the house. If you want one, put it on yourself. I’m not paying for it.’”
Tami Bowles also requested a privacy fence and more extensive exterior lighting be installed on the property.
“[Glatz] basically said, ‘I have 200 students and if I talked to everybody’s parents, I would be on the phone all day. I gotta go,’” Tami Bowles said. “So that was my contact with her.”
After that conversation, the police reached out to Glatz and request that she install exterior lighting near the duplexes’ parking area, which she complied with.
The residents of the transitional house include a 33-year-old man convicted of second degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) and assault, a 40-year-old man convicted of second degree CSC and a 46-year-old man who was convicted of first degree CSC in Minnesota.
Tami Bowles said that the ladies immediately went out with one of the other parents and bought supplies to protect themselves including mace, flashlights, an air horn and a bat.
Ferris professional golf management freshman Alissa Snider said she absolutely understands why the situation would be worrisome.
“I would probably feel very uncomfortable in the living space,” Snider said. “I wouldn’t know what to do exactly, because that’s just a weird situation that you don’t really foresee happening to you when you’re living this close to a university.”
According to the Michigan Sex Offenders Registry, there are 25 registered sex offenders within a 2-mile radius of Ferris’ Big Rapids campus.
Tami Bowles posted publically about the situation on Facebook last week and received mixed feedback. Comments in response to Tami Bowles’ post ranged from deeply sympathetic to accusatory.
“I can’t even describe how I feel,” Tami Bowles said. “I don’t want to think about it. I know it could always be worse, but this isn’t something you could imagine would happen to your daughter while she is so close to campus.”
For more information on sex offenders in the state of Michigan, go to michigan.gov.