TULSA, Okla. — Law enforcement says there is a loophole in the law that allows convicted sexual predators to legally be at your child’s school bus stop.
After learning of the oversight, following an incident in April, FOX23 went to police and lawmakers to find out what they are doing about it.
FOX23 told you when Steven Robinson was arrested at the Shoreline Apartments in east Tulsa.
Reports show parents and children saw Robinson standing near their bus stop with his pants down touching himself inappropriately.
“It’s not something that kids should over have to see,” one of the parents Hannah Rotenberry said.
“It was early like 6:50 in the morning.”
Lt. Darin Ehrenrich and the Tulsa Police Special Victims Unit are investigating.
“This is not the first case that I’m aware of that involves children at bus stops in Tulsa even recently.”
FOX23 looked into Robinson’s past and Oklahoma law.
There are three levels of sex offenders in the state.
Robinson is Level 3, which is the most severe following a Lewd Molestation conviction in Mayes County in 2001.
Offenders on this level must register every 90 days for the rest of their lives.
Lt. John Adams oversees registration for the city.
“[Robinson] registered with us and was in compliance for years,” Adams said.
The report says at the time of the incident, Robinson was also motioning children to his car.
“I saw it,” Rotenberry said. “We were like no come on, ya know, yelling at her to come on over here.”
“To motion towards children as some sort of invitation to get involved is especially heinous and alarming,” Ehrenrich says.
Adams said “that’s the scary stuff for us in law enforcement -- that a predator will get ahold of a child and then we don’t know where they are at.”
In Oklahoma, there is a “Zone of Safety” law when it comes to sex offenders.
It says they are “prohibited from loitering within five hundred (500) feet of any elementary, junior high or high school, permitted or licensed childcare center, playground or park.”
It says nothing about a school bus stop, meaning Robinson’s mere presence at the stop was not against the law.
Adams wants to give other sex offenders a reason to stay away, so he went to Oklahoma State Rep. Ross Ford.
“It really upsets me that we have let that fall through the cracks,” Ford told FOX23.
Ford is planning to address the issue in next year’s legislative session by amending the current law.
“I think the easiest way to get this accomplished is to add a paragraph in there that says a sex offender cannot be at a bus stop without a reason,” he says.
Ford says it wouldn’t be retroactive, meaning investigators couldn’t go back and add a charge for bus stop loitering on Robinson.
It would, however, go into effect immediately after it was signed into law.
Both Ford and Adams are confident it will have bipartisan support.
“It just gives a tool that if we catch an offender hanging out at a bus stop, we now have an offense we can charge him with.”
Robinson remains in jail charged with two counts of Exposing Minors to Lewd Acts and two counts of Indecent Exposure.
He has a preliminary hearing in June.
Oklahomans can check the state’s sex offender registry here.
Cox Media Group