Pedophiles In Schools: Part 1 - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/11/05-Houston

Pedophiles In Schools: Part 1

Houston, Texas. Population: 2 million. An old building in an old section of town does not get noticed. But its groundbreaking product is making waves across the nation, with only five people working behind the scenes to help make your child safer, all under president and CEO, Allan Measom.

The company is Raptor Technologies. The software-based product is called V-soft, which stands for Visitor, Student, Or Faculty Tracking. The idea is to prey on predators who prey on children.

"We see so many sex offenders as parents nowadays," Measom said. "It's a disturbing rate for me, the number of that. And if they're sitting there with your kid having lunch, that's always bothered me, thinking about that."

So Raptor Technologies came up with a way to track sex offenders from the moment they enter the school building.

It could be a parent, a volunteer, a contractor. Regardless of who it is, they have to provide a valid state-issued I.D., such as a drivers license. A fake one will likely be caught. The card is scanned and screened against sex offender databases in 41 states. If the person has no record, he or she gets a one-time-use visitor name tag, with the date, time, and where the visitor is headed on campus.

But every day, there are those who raise a red flag, and the school gets an instant, automatic alert. Raptor Technologies also sends an email to the school district's police department.

Measom says he gets eight to 10 alerts a day, from small towns and big cities. In fact, one came in just 10 minutes into our interview.

"Is that an alert, by any chance?" I asked Measom.

"It very possibly could be an alert," he said. "I can turn around and pop the phone and we could take a look... Offender was logged today at 2:55 p.m. registering to pick up a student at Francis Elementary School."

Sex offenders, just like other parents, are allowed to have lunch or visit with their children. But the offenders have to be monitored constantly by a school administrator. Other sex offenders, like contractors sent to do work on campus, are told to leave.

"It doesn't mean they're going to go in and grab a child and run down the hall," Measom said. "But there are signals that could be sent, grooming techniques. Pedophiles could have lunch with your daughter for instance and sit down and be whispering into the ear of the girl or boy next to that person and tapping them on the leg."

V-soft is only two years old, so less than 1 percent of schools in the U.S. currently use it. That's more than 600 schools in five states, including Texas, which has the second highest number of sex offenders, behind California. V-soft can also keep up with restraining orders and child custody issues.

"Parents with restraining orders, it'll have 'please contact the wife immediately,'" Measom said.

However, V-soft is not foolproof. It's only as good as the information Raptor Technologies gets from each state. Case in point, nine states don't even release their sex offender databases.

"There are cracks and holes," Measom said. "Certain states only put what's called level 3 sex offenders, very high recidity rate, especially with children."

Still, V-soft can track 300,000 sex offenders nationwide. So the product is gaining popularity and giving parents and school officials peace of mind.

V-soft costs $1500 the first year, including installation, supplies, and training. Every year after that, the school pays $36/month.

Tomorrow night, on KLTV 7 News at 10, we'll visit a school that has been using V-soft for two school years now. Hear what the parents have to say, as well as the district's police chief. Plus, you won't believe some of the people who have come onto campuses.

Julie Tam, reporting. jtam@ktlv.com

 

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