Steve Roddel, the creator of "familywatchdog" says he started the website in 2005 after he found out a registered sex offender was living just 600 feet from his family's home. Even more troubling, when this father of three went to check his state's registered offenders website, the offender's name was nowhere to be found.More >>
There's no law that keeps them away from your children -- registered sex offenders. Many live right next to your child's school. Once they've served their time, and are off probation and parole, sex offenders still have to register with local police.
But they are free to live anywhere they choose. In the heart of Tyler, one school, Hogg Middle School on South Broadway is an just one example of many of how sex offenders live among us. Just within a mile radius live 23 sex offenders. Sixteen of them committed crimes against children. The nearest lives less than 1000 feet from Hogg.
That word worries parents.
"Especially in this area where there's a school and vulnerable kids," says parent Marquisha Moore.
"[There are student] girls and boys who are looking for someone to make them feel special, and not understand the trick that's really going on," she says of her fears of how offenders might lure victims.
Sex offenders live near just about every school. For instance, Pine Tree Elementary and Middle Schools in Longview and Joe Wright Elementary in Jacksonville all have 11 sex offenders within a mile radius. Some live much closer.
If any sex offender completes probation or parole, no state or local law keeps them from living right next to school.
Gwen Harper is a grandparent of a Hogg Middle School student.
"They should be required to move. [To] anywhere but where kids are."
The landscape could change this legislative session, says State Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler.
"It's just like anybody else when you put an injunction on someone and don't allow them to go within so many feet of a person, these are predators preying on our children. We should do, one, everything we can do to keep them off our streets, and two, if they are released, we need to know where they are. Our citizens need to know where they are," Eltife says.
Eltife told KLTV he supports legislation that would prevent registered sex offenders from living in close proximity to a school, even after they've served their time.
"[Lieutenant Governor David] Dewhurst has outlined a broad sweeping revamp of all the laws that affect child predators and pedophiles, and this issue may very well be added to this legislation," Eltife said.
Other measures nationwide have run into legal problems. The question: when has a sex offender fully repaid society? It's a fight that might just be brewing.
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