KLTV 7 Investigates: Who's Checking Roll? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

KLTV 7 Investigates: Who's Checking Roll?

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Once sex offenders serve their time, many are required to notify people when they move into a neighborhood, but what are the rules when they enroll in college classes?

Jamie Newburn, one of 2 registered sex offenders who attends UT Tyler, tells us, "At first, I didn't know you had to register on a public university campus, so they actually sought me out."

In the past 2 years, UT Tyler campus police say no students have asked for the campus safety report, listing sex offenders that were attending.

At Kilgore College, when asked about sex offenders, student Joe Colbert tells KLTV 7 "I never thought about one just being up here, you know. But there probably is."

He's right. We found the list of sex offender students in the Kilgore College School Police Department.  Ten in all.

"The law is they are compelled to register. That's their responsibility. If they fail to do so then they violated the terms of their release," said Kilgore College Police Chief Martin Pessink.

Chief Pessink added "If we could build a bubble over our campus and keep all the criminal element out, that's what we'd do. Realistically, we're an open enrollment campus. We have no say to who's allowed to register for classes, who's here. I don't know what types of crimes people have been incarcerated for, that are attending classes on the campus."

 But, the chief tells us there is an exception.  He says last year, the school adopted a policy to run background checks on students applying to live on campus.

According to Chief Pessink "We feel that since we have housing on our campus, we have an additional duty to our students who are living on our campus to ensure we don't have criminals living next door to them."

That's not the case at UT Tyler.

So for a student to find out Newburn's background, they'd have to look in a binder, where they would discover he took a Greyhound bus to meet a 14 year old girl in California.

Jamie told KLTV 7  "I told her that before Thanksgiving I would be out there, so that she knows I'm not just stringing her along or whatever and to ask her parents permission to get married to her because it would have required parental consent because she was 14 and I was 23."

Newburn says that decision now haunts his life, saying "If I could, I'd change everything. Essentially, as I've told other people, right now, sitting here, I have no future."

Despite the negative image attached to the term "sex offender," Newburn says he agrees people on campus should know.

And police have a warning for offenders who don't know to register or choose not to.

Chief Martin Pessink says, "I'm going to find out who they are, then I'm going to contact the proper court to see whether criminal charges can be filed for failing to register.

We tried to talk to Tyler Junior College about their policy, but no one returned our calls.

You can check out your campus.. No matter where in the state it may be... We've made it easy for you.

Just go to the Big Red box on our home page and click on the "sex offenders on campus" link.

Select a school, and you'll get a list of registered sex offenders, including their offense.

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