Sex offenders living near school bus stops

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Updated: 8/13/2013 10:18 am Published: 8/12/2013 9:17 pm

A FOX23 News viewer contacted us about sex offenders living close to her children's bus stop in Sand Springs.

"You are closer to home. You are supposed to be safe there," said the mother.

She did not want to publish her identity or where she lives in Sand Springs, but FOX23 News found three registered sex offenders in her neighborhood.

"I actually have my 14-year-old take my 10-year-old to the corner and wait for the bus and then he comes back, waits 45 minutes to get to his bus," said the mother.

State law restricts registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a park, licensed day care and school but not school bus stops.

"I had no idea," said the mother.

She says before her child leaves for school she worries about weather, traffic and sex offenders.

"This is just one of those other elements because of the world that we live in we have to put sex offenders on our list of worries," said the mother.

Other parents were surprised to learn that bus stops are not part of the "safe zones."

"I would have never imagined them living near a bus stop," said another father who wanted to use his first name, Randy. "I don't want [sex offenders] anywhere near my kids."

The sex offender who lives next door to Randy is legal because the sex offender lived in the home before the 2003 safe zone law went into effect. Those types of sex offenders are known to be grandfathered into the law.

"We can't make you move after the fact, after they were convicted," said Sand Springs Assistant Police Chief Mike Carter.

The assistant police chief says there are 15 registered sex offenders living in Sand Springs. He showed FOX23 News the map that shows where registered sex offenders who are not grandfathered in can live and there are limited options.

"I understand sex offenders need a place to live but that is none of my concern, my concern are my children,” said the mother.

Sand Springs Assistant Superintendent Lonetta Sprague said children's safety is a priority and they work to avoid putting bus stops near where sex offenders’ residences. She encourages concerned parents to report it to the district and they will consider changing it.

FOX23 News also checked with Tulsa Public Schools on his standards for designating bus stops.

Assistant Director of Transportation Rosalyn Vann-Jackson said bus stops are re-evaluated every year. She says complaints about sex offenders living too close to bus stops is minimal.

"The complaints we receive are very minimal and almost always for our door-to-door stops. We advise patrons that centralized stops are utilized at schools, parks, libraries (public locations) to minimize the risk to students," said Vann-Jackson in an e-mail statement.

She also recommends parents monitor their children walking to and from bus stops and drivers are trained to report suspicious activity.

TPS also says it has a feature in the routing software that will show where registered sex offenders live.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Unwashed Mass - 8/13/2013 3:15 PM
1 Vote
Fear-mongering non-issue. Stick with real crime.

pachrismith - 8/13/2013 3:10 PM
1 Vote
In separate USDOJ reports 59% of persons reported to law enforcement for sexually abusing a child are non-family acquaintances and 34% are family members; 5.3% of Sex Offeders and 5.1% of child molesters released from prison are rearrested for another sex crime. The California Sex Offender Management Board, in their study of management practices found that some 90% of those arrested for sex crimes had no prior conviction history for that type of crime. The University of Albany (New York) found that number to be more than 95% between 1984 and 2004. Sommer Thompson disappeared walking home from school on 19 October 2009. There were 161 sex offenders registered within 10 miles of her home. Jarred Harrell wasn’t on that list because he had never been convicted of any sex crime. He pled guilty to her murder. Jaycee Dugards’ step-father watched the woman get out of the grey sedan near her bus stop, grab Jaycee and speed away. She was recovered, alive with two daughters, 19 years later. Phillip Garrido, the driver and convicted sex offender, lived 141 miles from the Dugards’ home. Jessica Ridgeway disappeared while walking to a park just down the block from her home, to meet friends for their walk to school. Austin Sigg, then 17 and her accused murderer, lived about a mile from there. He was not on any sex offender registry because he had never been convicted of any sex crime. Watching sex offenders accounts for 1 in 10, watching your child eliminates all 10. Better you should concern yourself with your children.

kindagreywolf - 8/13/2013 11:03 AM
2 Votes
This problem is so simple to solve it isn't funny. Instead of telling sex offenders where they can't live, tell them where they CAN. Right not it's "You can't do this, you can't do that, you can't live here, you can't live there", etc. We give them all the don'ts and not any do's.
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