Meet David Owen, a convicted sex offender who freely roams the halls of the Kansas State Capitol.

The Lonely Guy 

Meet David Owen, a convicted sex offender who freely roams the halls of the Kansas State Capitol.

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"When I first got busted for it, I wouldn't tell anybody," Owen says. "But I'm hoping that maybe being open about it can maybe encourage somebody not to get addicted to porn like I did. Thankfully, I never raped anybody.

"It could be worse," Owen adds. "It was explained to me that had I not got my hand slapped over that, I might be looking for it the real way, which is true, because I was looking at more and more explicit stuff as time went on."

To keep temptation at bay, Owen says he avoids the Internet. And he attends Alcoholics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous meetings to deal with his addiction. "There is no AA for people who are addicted to porn, which I am. So I go to the next closest thing, which is AA, because they're fighting addiction, and pornography is an addiction."

After he was arrested, Owen says, he ended up in a cell where he was the only white guy.

"This big black guy comes over to me, and I'm thinking I'm going to be his girlfriend," Owen says. "I was paranoid and scared, and so I probably treated him pretty bad. He said, 'Hey, dude, what's wrong?' I said, 'I'm in jail, and I don't know what to do about it.' Guess what that guy has me do?"

The prisoner told him to call home.

"That was the best phone call I've made in my life," Owen says. "If it wasn't for that black inmate, I'd been in a lot worse shape."

He credits his father, Darrell Owen, with helping him break his addiction. "He kicked me in my ass — well, not really," Owen says. "It was tough love, but it was needed."

The call inspired him to start a program to reunite homeless people with their families. So, in 2002, he put his name on another registry — not the list of sex offenders but the list of lobbyists on file at the Kansas Secretary of State's office.

Now he spends his days trying to chat up legislators and wandering around while grade school students tour the Capitol.

It's a Wednesday morning in early February, and Owen is hanging out in the Capitol rotunda. In his messenger bag, he keeps studies on homelessness and a well-worn Bible. Inside the maroon holy book is a clipping from his hometown newspaper, the Cimarron Jacksonian, about his lobbying efforts.

Owen has half an hour to kill before he will read a statement to the Senate Tax Committee, urging its members to push the Salvation Army to reunite homeless people with their families. He pulls a photo album out of his bag and flips through pages showing homeless people he has photographed throughout the years.

"What really bugs me about this picture," he says, pointing to a man in a homeless camp surrounded by discarded furniture, "he's got better furniture than I've got. No, no, I'm joking. He's got his own place now."

He points to a graffiti-covered stairwell in one picture. "I'll be so glad when they blow that damn thing up," he says of plans to rebuild the Topeka Boulevard Bridge. "This is a hotel for the homeless. I've had some pretty good meals under this thing. The homeless feed me well sometimes."

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