A registered sex offender being placed in a Gubser neighborhood halfway home caused an uproar on social media last weekend, but a spokesperson for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MSCO) said it was the best option of difficult choices. 

“As we assess the various housing options available to our clients, at times we are faced with the very real decision of approving a placement versus having an offender become or remain homeless,” said Sgt. Jeremy Landers, of the MCSO Community Resource Unit. “Homelessness can create additional challenges to providing supervision to an offender residing within the community.”

The individual in question is Philip Martin Shupp, 30, who is on post-prison supervision after serving time for public indecency. Shupp is 6-foot-3, 210 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. The circumstances leading to his conviction are not available in online court records, but Shupp is considered a Level 3 sex offender meaning he has a a high probability to re-offend. 

Special conditions of Shupp’s release include prohibitions against frequenting malls, parks, campgrounds, places where minors congregate, contact with minors and engaging in and completing sex offender treatment. 

“In instances like this, our Community Corrections Division is faced with the very difficult challenge of finding appropriate housing for clients who often times are not openly welcomed back into the community,” said Landers.

Neighbors of the property have reported seeing Shupp leave the house in womens clothing, but Landers could not comment on those allegations. 

In addition to being supervised by a parole officer (PO), there are supervisory staff in place at the home where he and others are living. 

“The supervision comes in the form of regularly checking in with his PO and there being a specific location he is expected to be residing at, his PO also has the ability to be in contact with staff at this house,” Landers said. 

Treatment in sex offender cases focuses on the underlying causes that lead someone to reoffend. 

“In addition to promoting accountability, we seek out various treatment options and work to address anti-social attitudes, values, beliefs, peer associations and other areas which may lead to an increased risk to re-offend,” Landers said. 

Marion County and local police officers notify and attempt to work with the neighbors in the area and provide public notifications, not to stoke fears, but under the belief that an informed public makes the situation safer for everyone.