Saturday, August 23, 2014
Oregon surf shop owner Travis Ellis and "Nosy Nellie" Gina Anderson push to keep a registrant from driving a cab
But Shutt's Cape Kiwanda Taxi service lasted just shy of three months before his past caught up with him.
Classified as a predatory sex offender for two rapes and an attempted rape involving three women he didn't know, Shutt and his makeshift cab bitterly divided the north Oregon coast community.
The sheriff and the high school principal distributed warnings about Shutt. The food bank restricted the hours that he could show up. Friendships frayed as critics argued that the convicted rapist shouldn't be alone with anyone in a van while supporters pointed to Shutt's clean record of more than 30 years.
Shutt fought back, taking out restraining orders against his most outspoken detractors. He told a judge that he was "making a last stand'' in Pacific City.
"I was going to prove to them that a person like me who hasn't reoffended should have the opportunity for life, liberty and the American dream," he said. "I paid my price."
Shutt's troubles illuminated the clash between society's desire to protect the public by holding sex offenders accountable and an offender's hope for a second chance long after serving prison time.
The controversy and its outcome aren't surprising to authorities who work to track registered sex offenders. Many of them -– especially those with a predator label -- face enormous challenges finding a job because of their pasts and often end up self-employed as a result or homeless because they can't pay their bills.
But rape victims and their advocates say that's the price Shutt and other sex offenders must pay -- just as the women they attacked must live with the humiliation of the assaults for the rest of their lives...
Travis Ellis, who runs the Haystack Coffee and Kiwanda Surf Shop, was outraged when Shutt's criminal history came to light and even banned a few regulars from his shop who supported Shutt.
"It's scary to me that people were defending him. ... I don't want him in a cab and I want this town to realize this is a safety issue,'' Ellis said. "I put kids with boogie boards in cabs. ... What is the predatory list for if not to caution people?''
Mark McRae, owner of the True Value Hardware store, had no qualms about Shutt or his business. "I'm a Christian,'' McRae said. "I believe in redemption. I believe people do change.''
But he glanced out the front window of his store across the street to Haystack Coffee.
"He's a friend I no longer have,'' McRae said of Ellis.
Shutt, now 57, bald and solidly built, was 25 when he committed his crimes in Bakersfield, Calif., in 1981...
Local resident Gina Anderson researched Shutt's record and visited businesses, warning her friends not to get in his cab.
Shutt in turn filed a complaint with the sheriff and then went to court to get restraining orders against Anderson and two others who were denouncing him. He told a judge he felt threatened.
"I have an entire community that's hating on me,'' Shutt said in court. "I just want to put a stop to it.''...
Shutt's departure wasn't enough for Ellis and Anderson. They said they plan to push for stricter laws, particularly in rural communities like theirs, that would require background checks for drivers of taxis or other cars for hire and prevent anyone with a violent criminal record from driving one.
View the two idiots' interview with the Whoregonian here:
Feel free to flood Travis's FB business page with complaints as well.