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Too many sex offenders for Girl Scouts location?

Published October 25, 2009 11:56 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The headquarters for 620 Girls Scouts in south-central Idaho is moving because too many registered sex offenders live near its current downtown office, officials said.

"Do we feel this is the safest environment for girls being served in the area?" asked Shelli Rambo Robertson, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Silver Sage Council, which includes Idaho, Oregon and Nevada. "We did not."

The group last month discontinued meetings at the southern Idaho office and is moving to a new office near the College of Southern Idaho. The headquarters on Fourth Avenue was in an industrial part of town next to a tattoo parlor and has more than 50 registered sex offenders living within one mile.

The Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office, however, reported 23 registered sex offenders living within one mile of the new location.

At the former headquarters, the Girl Scouts held sleepovers, crafts and gatherings. But leaders said the new headquarters has only one office and isn't large enough for those activities.

Katy Kulesa, marketing manager for the Girls Scouts of Silver Sage Council, said a storage unit was recently donated.

Robertson said no Girl Scouts were harmed at the old headquarters, but that the group decided to be proactive and move to the outskirts of Twin Falls.

"When we found out about it (the sex offender population), that's when we took immediate action," Robertson told The Times-News.

Lt. Craig Stotts, spokesman for the Twin Falls Police, said it was difficult to make comparisons about the safety of the location of the former Girls Scouts headquarters compared with the new one.

"I wouldn't be able to make a determination without doing an analysis of that area and then comparing it to another area in town," Stotts told the newspaper in an e-mail. "Comparing the downtown area to a residential area on the outskirts of town is like comparing apples and oranges. There are a lot of different variables here."