Couple opens home, and heart, to registered sex offender

Couple opens home, and heart, to registered sex offender

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"Are there difficulties? Sure, but the rewards are far greater," Powers explained. "Are there difficulties? Sure, but the rewards are far greater," Powers explained.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

HARRIMAN (WATE) – Several sex offenders are back in jail tonight after a two-day operation conducted by U.S. Marshals found they were violating the terms of their release.

In all, officers checked on 80 sex offenders in Roane County. Four of those were arrested for an array of crimes including drug and weapons charges. 

But at one home, you may be surprised by what they found, a couple opening their home, and their hearts, to help one of those convicted sex offenders.

After working as a corrections officer Russell Powers and his wife, Addie, decided they no longer wanted to sit on the sidelines but instead take an active roles in making a difference in people's lives.

"You see things you can't fix and me and my wife talked about it and we decided let's do all we can, if we can just save one, one. If everyone tried to save one, what a better world it would be," Russell Powers.

But they didn't stop with just one. For 19 years the Powers have been taking care of children and mentally handicapped young adults as family-base providers through the organization OmniVisions.

"Are there difficulties? Sure, but the rewards are far greater," Powers explained.

Currently, their situation is a bit more complicated, one of the individuals in their care is a 23-year-old registered sex offender. That means the Powers' address shows up on the state registry, and they are subject to surprise inspections by law enforcement like the one just the other night. But they say it's all worth it. 

"It's worth it when you see the effort the young man puts into it, what he's trying to do with his life, then you realize how small your sacrifice is compared to what he's doing," Powers said.

Powers can't go into details of what happened in the past but says he wishes people knew the truth before they jump to the worst case scenario when hearing the term sex offender.

"You want to speak for them. You want to go out in the community and say if you knew what they've been through and what they've had to endure and if you had any idea, you could understand," he said.

But while they can't change everyone's mind, the Powers can make a difference in the young man's life that now lives under their roof.

"Hopefully one day they'll be a member of society that's a positive thing, and they can pick up the pieces and move on with their own life," Powers said.  "That's the ultimate goal, for them to achieve their ultimate goal and that's to be able to function in this world on their own."

The Powers have three young adults living in their care through the Omnivisions program, which is similar to foster care.

Omnivisions says the fact that one of those individuals is a registered sex offender was just a happenstance, the incident that led to the young man's conviction happened before he lived with the Powers. He has been living with them for just over four years.  

Throughout the last two decades the Powers have taken in 15 children and young adults into their home. 

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