Sex offenders are everywhere, run for your lives........
By KRISTINE GALVAN
HOUSTON - Pat Uribe's grandchildren are counting the days. Soon they'll trade playtime in the hot, dry sun for a refreshing dip in a nice, cold pool.
"We're looking into swimming lessons and all the typical things," said Uribe, as her grandchildren slid, jumped, and swung from a playground near Stude Park in the Houston Heights.
This Memorial Day weekend, 20 swimming pools in the city of Houston will open, and crime victims' advocate Andy Kahan says parents should be aware of the dangers that don't involve water.
"You've got 5000 and then some sex offenders that are registered in Harris County," said Kahan. "They're going to be all over the place."
- Don't goto sleep at night, or the boogeyman might get you!
Yes, that means by your neighborhood pool.
- And the gas station, mall, store, local bar, church, they are everywhere.
A FOX26 news investigation revealed registered sex offenders live near every one of the pools scheduled to open this weekend.
On the northeast side, we found nine “high risk" offenders living within a mile of Moody Pool.
On the southeast side, five offenders live right behind Reveille Pool.
An offender who once sexually assaulted a 7-year-old boy lives in an apartment complex right across the street from Stude Pool where Uribe’s family plays.
"I am surprised that they're that close," said Uribe's friend, Mona Quellhorst.
"I thought they kept track of schools, parks and churches and things where children gather," said Uribe.
Uribe is correct.
"If they are being supervised by a correctional department, normally they have a condition they cannot enter a child safety zone," said Kahan.
- Not true, they cannot loiter there, big difference.
"Once you're off that probation or parole and the state doesn't have any control over you anymore, you can live anywhere you want," said Chris Tritico, Fox 26's Legal Expert. "So you can have a sex offender living right across the street from this park and he's not violating the law."
Records show the offender who lives near Stude Pool fulfilled the conditions of his release three months ago.
So legally, it's okay for him to live and play here.
"It would be virtually impossible to monitor or to keep them out of public swimming pools," said Kahan, of the offenders who are no longer under supervision.
The explanation isn't much comfort to Uribe.
"It's really alarming. We don't really pay attention to that," she said. "(The kids are) in there swimming and (say) ‘I have to go to the bathroom' so you let them go to the bathroom and you never think that somebody, a predator could be out there in the restroom."
- A predator could be right behind you right now.. Watch out, he may get you!
Even if these convicted predators stay away from the water, for many working parents, the walk to the pool is short enough for their kids to make alone.
- There is your problem. Don't let them walk alone! If you think the boogeyman is everywhere, why would you let them?
Experts say before you pack up their sunscreen and towels, and send them on their way, you should also add something else to your checklist.
"Check on the public sex offender database and find out the registered sex offenders that are living in your neighborhood and kinda familiarize yourself with what they look like," said Kahan.
- Okay, so you know what they look like. How is that going to protect you? If they wanted to commit a crime, they will.
"That's why we have the law that says (offenders) have to register and we post (their) name and address on the internet," said Tritico. "So that people know where (they) live."