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.

Page 5 of 8

"No," the man yells back.

"I'd rather be wrong than not ask," Owen says. "I've been wrong so many times."

Owen climbs up the hill and peers down at the graffiti-covered stairwell from the photo album.

A freezing wind whips through layers of clothing.

"Not a good day to be homeless," Owen says.

He wants badly to find a homeless person. He wants to prove that he can send someone home. It's the wrong season, he grumbles. They're taking shelter indoors at the library or the mall, he says. He'd have found a homeless person by now if it were summer.

Owen demands that a Pitch reporter drive past the Topeka Rescue Mission, from which he's been banned.

"He's not allowed on our property because of the way he treats the folks here," mission director Barry Feaker tells the Pitch.

The ban goes back to an incident in spring 2004. Feaker says a woman staying at the mission was sitting on a blanket on the levee of the Kansas River. It was her day off from work, but Owen thought she was a homeless person sleeping on a blanket. Feaker says Owen told the woman that sitting on the levee was illegal, then told her to go home. According to Feaker's file, Owen responded to the woman's explanation by pulling the blanket out from under her, walking to the mission's dumpster and throwing it away.

Feaker started keeping a file on Owen shortly after Owen moved to Topeka in 2002. The folder is stuffed with letters Owen has written to Feaker and bulletins Owen has posted around the city. In one, Owen tells homeless people to swallow their pride, suffer a little humiliation and call a family member. In another, Owen writes, "Your family is not homeless. YOU ARE. Your family is doing something right that you're not doing."

There are also letters from legislative secretaries and homeless people asking Feaker to stop Owen from bothering them.

"We've spent quite a bit of time over the last few years trying to talk people out of hurting him," Feaker says. "Some of these folks on the street are some tough folks."

Feaker became a frequent target of Owen's criticisms. Owen would show up almost anywhere Feaker was speaking and dispute whatever Feaker said.

"David's pretty aggressive in the community to try to slam anybody who works with the homeless to say they're all doing it wrong," Feaker says. "Whether he gets on television with our local government channel or City Council meetings or whether he goes and meets somebody on the street, he tries to say that we're in error in how we're approaching and working with the homeless and that we're in it for the money and that his ideas are superior to anybody else's."

Owen concedes that his tactics aren't the best.

"I'm just so frustrated when I see people underneath the bridge, and I know that if somebody just intervened in their lives a bit and told them what they didn't want to hear, then they could be home so much quicker.... I want their lives to be better, not worse. It's all out of Christian love that I do it."

Owen tears up homeless camps when he finds them. He counts six, maybe seven successes with his "where's your family" approach. Owen's greatest glory — the story he tells over and over — was finding a homeless man named Clinton under a Topeka bridge. He claims that he got in the guy's face and told him, "Brother, you're gonna give me a family name, dead or alive.... You're going to give me a name, and if you don't, you're going to be talking to a cop."

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