OPINION: Keep Kevin Howard in jail
A 62-year-old child rapist planning to move to Coffs Harbour still regularly masturbates in his jail cell.
Kevin Howard's rap sheet reads like a horror story.
He has been jailed for raping a four-year-old girl and photographing the sick act, raping a woman at knife-point in her car and kidnapping and repeatedly sexually assaulting a partially-blind 17-year-old girl.
The child molester also fondled pre-schoolers on a playground and groped a woman in the street.
Some of the offences happened while he was on parole in a string of sex attacks dating back to the 1970s. He is due for release in October.
His plans for the future?
"The defendant has no plans to work, but rather intends to play pool (presumably in hotels), go fishing, and have 'a few beers'," NSW Supreme Court Justice Richard Button said.
And the Coffs Harbour region is his destination of choice. No wonder residents are up in arms.
This is a man a court-appointed psychiatrist rated as having a "moderate-high to high risk of re-offending".
A man whose coastal plans "equate to returning to a lifestyle very similar to that he had at the time of the index offence".
A man whose "masturbatory habits are relatively high in context of his age and living circumstance".
A man for whom "after release and with exposure to women in the community, sexual arousal may become a significant risk factor".
Sapphire Beach mum Amber Brien launched a petition on Change.org on Thursday to keep Howard out of Coffs Harbour.
The outrage has snowballed with more than 2500 signatures on the petition yesterday.
"I have an eight-month-old son, and we just moved from Brisbane because I thought Coffs was a beautiful place," Ms Brien said.
"The thought of someone like that moving in makes me sick.
"He's saying he wants to live a life playing pool and going fishing.
"He doesn't deserve a life like that. He deserves to be miserable.
"He deserves to stay in jail."
Talks are already underway about staging a protest outside the Coffs Harbour City Council building in the coming days. Mother of four Fiona Smith has created a Coffs Citizens Take a Stand group on Facebook to see what legal avenues are available to keep the child rapist in jail.
Or, at the very least, to keep him out of her beloved town.
"I have four children ranging from five to 16 years old," Ms Smith said.
"My girlfriend who told me about this last night has kids from three to 15 years old.
"Our town right now is up in arms, worried sick about whether this gentleman is coming here.
"The poor children who have been violated by this man have had their lives completely ruined.
"Why should someone like him be protected by the authorities?"
The State of NSW is seeking a strict supervision order so Howard will be closely monitored on release. But even stronger safeguards are available.
NSW sex offenders who pose a continued and serious danger to the community can be hit with post-sentence detention orders and kept in prison.
Someone with his vile history who is a "moderate-high to high risk of re-offending" is the perfect candidate. Keep Kevin Howard in jail.