Sex offender treatment taking place at Phoenix resort hotel

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A Valley behavioral counseling organization announced it will stop holding treatment sessions for sex offenders at a resort hotel, following a CBS 5 Investigation.

CBS 5 hidden cameras filmed sex offenders wandering the halls of the Sheraton Crescent Hotel, sitting in the courtyard by the pool and surfing the web on the hotel lobby computers during the counseling session lunch break.

“It's introduction to sex offender treatment class. Anyone who is on probation for a sex crime has to attend,” said a man whose identity CBS 5 Investigates agreed to conceal in exchange for his story. He is a registered sex offender, who says he had to attend the class at the Sheraton Crescent.

“If I don’t go, I go to jail. If I do go, they’re setting you up to violate because you’re at a hotel setting. You go on breaks. You go to lunch. There’s kids [sic]  everywhere. There’s families," [sic] said the man.

The man said some of the offenders are not allowed to be within 20 feet of children.

“It’s not fair to the offender and it’s not fair to the families that go to that hotel,” said the man.

CBS 5 Investigates reached out to Sheraton corporate officials, as well as the hotel’s general manager. Questions included whether the hotel guests are alerted that sex offenders would be on premises and whether the hotel takes any additional security precautions during the time the classes are held in the hotel ballrooms.

After multiple attempts to get a response, the general manager sent CBS 5 the following statement:

“In line with our company standard to protect the privacy of our guests, we do not speak about matters involving individuals or groups who may be guests or visitors at our hotel.”

The organization that runs the counseling sessions, Mountain Valley Counseling, declined a request for an on-camera interview, but issued the following statement:

“I appreciate the concerns you expressed in our conversation and in your email.  Mountain Valley Counseling will continue to keep public safety as our top priority now and in the future.  All future MVC classes will be held in our private office facilities.”

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Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter at CBS 5 News. His career has taken him to every corner of the state, lots of corners in the United States, and some far-flung corners of the globe.

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Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

Morgan’s past assignments include covering the invasion of Iraq, human smuggling in Mexico, vigilantes on the border and Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County. His reports have appeared or been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and NPR.

Morgan’s peers have recognized his work with 11 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, an SPJ First Amendment Award, and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. In October 2016, Morgan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle in recognition of 25 years of contribution to the television industry in Arizona.

Morgan is graduate of the University of Arizona journalism school and Concord Law School at Purdue University Global. He is the president of the Arizona First Amendment Coalition and teaches media law and TV news reporting at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

When he’s not out looking for the next big news story, Morgan enjoys hiking, camping, cheering for the Arizona Wildcats and spending time with his family at their southern Arizona ranch.

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