It makes me wonder about these programs. I wonder what the liability is? How do they screen the volunteer pilots? … or do they?
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Event flyer (note contact information) http://eaa391.org/Meeting%20Notice,%20June%202008.pdf
By Chelsea Kopta KEPR-TV
KENNEWICK – Hundreds of kids with the EAA Young Eagles group are gearing up for flyovers at Sundance Aviation this weekend.
But you sent us an email with a warning: one of the owners is a licensed pilot and a registered sex offender.
Could he be giving your kids a free ride?
It seems, those worries may be unfounded.
“What it is, is a chance to give kids rides on airplanes, and chance for pilots to show their enthusiasm for aviation,” Young Eagles Coordinator Marjy Leggett said.
Young Eagles is a branch of Experimental Aviation Association, and she said the free flights are a way for the organization to reach out to children.
But some parents are concerned about what’s going on down on the ground.
“He is a level one sex offender that was convicted in 1998 for rape of a child in the second degree,” Richland police detective Roy Shepherd said.
Shepherd tracks sex offenders and said he’s had Clifton Dyer on file for the last decade.
“The public, the first thing they think about in a sex offender is a child molester and they wouldn’t want their kids around that,” he said.
Level two and three sex offenders are prevented from being around kids but Dyer doesn’t fall into that category.
As a level one, he’s considered the least likely to re-offend.
And since he’s a level one sex offender who’s not under probation, there is no law that states he can’t be around kids.
“He’s free to run his business,” Shepherd said.
“That’s really a non issue, I hope you understand that,” Leggett said.
Dyer’s wife, and co-owner Sue said Dyer has no intentions of of flying the airplane or being in close contact with children.
Leggett said she wants to put this issue to rest.
She said no one should be worried because there’s little connection between Dyer and the kids.
“It’s probably not a good idea considering his background. It sounds like he’s making the right choice,” Shepherd said.
“The kids are going to have so much fun,” Leggett said.
Dyer was convicted of child rape back in 1998.
Right now he’s not on probation.
The Port of Benton said as long as Dyer is following the rules and regulations of the airport, it will take no action against him.
We also spoke with the Federal Aviation Administration.
They said it issues pilot’s licenses to registered sex offenders, but it depends on each individual’s case and when the crime was committed.