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Violent sex offenders living near school bus stops in Hampton Roads

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WTKR-TV37:54 p.m. EDT, October 27, 2011

Their crimes run the spectrum of what society calls perverse: attempted rape of a minor, aggravated sexual battery, and object sexual penetration. Things that would make any parent shudder.

Not one, not two, but three sex offenders live in this house on Maxine Court in the Chimney Hill neighborhood of Virginia Beach.

“I had no idea they were this close to me,” says Shannon Reaud.

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Another shock for neighbors – their home is just down the street from where elementary school kids catch the bus. We measured the distance.

This says its 287 feet from the sex offenders house, and that’s not all.

We’re here at the middle and high school bus stop and right now that sex offenders house with three men inside is only 168 feet away.

“That makes me very uncomfortable,” says Homer Johnson.

Homer has two elementary school age kids, but he and his wife never knew about their neighbors.

“Just knowing somebody across the street is a pedophile, makes me really nervous,” he says.

This problem is not just in Virginia Beach. We found sex offenders living near bus stops in all seven cities ofHampton Roads.

In Chesapeake, three sex offenders live within three hundred feet of this bus stop on Sparrow Road. One of those men was convicted of producing, distributing or financing child pornography.

But it’s no surprise to people in this Indian River neighborhood.

“I’ve known for a couple of years, pretty much since I moved here,” says Lyle Phetteplace.

Shannon says armed with that information, she is very careful about her children’s safety on the way to the bus stop.

“For my son here, he’s young. So I walk him to the bus. I also go and get him off the bus,” she says.

“It’s very nerve-wracking to even let them play these days, what do you do?” she says.

Right now, there are no laws in Virginia that regulate how close sex offenders can live to bus stops. And as a result, many school districts like Virginia Beach and Chesapeake don’t have formal policies.

“Thats a tough one, because there has to be bus stops everywhere,” says Lyle.

So is it hopeless for parents? No. Just look at Newport NewsHampton and Suffolk. These cities have managed to come up with a plan that compares their bus stops to the sex offender registry before every school year.

Copyright © 2011, WTKR-TV

WTKR-TV36:12 p.m. EDT, October 28, 2011




In this Lambert’s Point neighborhood in Norfolk, the opinions on sex offenders are worlds apart, depending on which side of the street you live on.

Richard Jacobs can’t stand the thought of them.

“It disgusts me. That’s the worst crime that these people can commit, as far as I’m concerned. They prey on young innocent people, mess them up for the rest of their lives. And honestly, they can get the hell out of my neighborhood,” he says.

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Charles Lee, his neighbor across the street, actually lives with a man convicted of soliciting a child for sex on the internet.

No matter how heinous the crime, lee feels his roommate deserves a second chance.

“Now we are on this witch hunt of once a criminal, always a criminal, you should be in jail locked away forever never to be seen again,” he says.

“I can be a sex offender because I look at porn. People want to accuse me of being a sex offender because I look at porn! I’m a bachelor, I’ve had five decades of life, why can’t I watch porn?” he asks.

But parents tell me this sex offender’s location gives them good reason to worry.

We are right in front of the sex offender’s home here on the corner of Bluestone and 39th in Norfolk. And literally right in their front yard is where the bus picks up children every morning and drops them off every afternoon.

And 489 feet away, yet another sex offender lives in this house just a block away from the bus stop.

“The sex offenders shouldn’t be there where they are,” they say.

Regardless of how neighbors feel, these sex offenders are breaking no laws. Right now, the state only regulates how close they can live to schoolsdaycares and parks. Nothing mentions bus stops.

“I think that should be included, bus stops as well,” they say.

And because no law exists, the same issue comes up in cities all around our area.

Like in Hampton, where two offenders live on Rosewood Drive in the Backriver section, sandwiched in between two bus stops just a couple hundred feet away.

And here on Kalona Road in Portsmouth, these two sex offenders live less than 200 feet from where the bus stops.

“A lot of terrible things run through my mind,” says Elizabeth Anderson.

Elizabeth has two granddaughters who catch the bus in this Churchland neighborhood.

Portsmouth school officials tell me they check to make sure no stops are directly in front of a sex offenders home.

But Elizabeth’s stop is just 185 feet away from a man convicted of sodomy on a child under the age of 14.

“Ii would be devastated if anything happened to them, and that’s why I keep a pretty close eye on them,” she says. “They are innocent. They don’t know what can happen. It’s really frightening.”

In Norfolk, the school district tells me they don’t base their bus stops around the registry, because if they did, bus stops wouldn’t exist in some neighborhoods, since there are just too many sex offenders.

But parents say that’s just not acceptable.

“So they are not there maybe five or ten minutes, but a lot can happen in five or ten minutes,” says another parent.

And they acknowledge schools can only do so much without the proper laws in place, which comes down to politicians in Richmond.

“I think the Virginia State Assembly should change the law and change it now,” they say.


Copyright © 2011, WTKR-TV




Written by dawneworswick

November 2, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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