By Jesse Bogan
DES PERES - About 100 people showed up at a community meeting here Wednesday night to hear what can be done about registered sex offender _____ living in their upper-middle-class neighborhood.
But by the time it was over, many, including Bill England, 70, would leave with a sense of powerlessness.
“What’s very concerning to me is my grandson and his mother live next door to this guy. Next door,” England told a panel of law enforcement and city officials gathered before the crowd. “Obviously, we are scared. What advice would you give us?”
- The same info as if any other ex-felon lived next to you, tell you kid about the person, tell your kid about good touch / bad touch, etc, etc.
Kathi Alizadeh, chief of the sex crimes unit for the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney’s office, told him she couldn't give him advice and only encouraged him to contact lawmakers in Jefferson City.
“What I can tell you is that there is nothing in the law that prohibits him from living next door to a child,” she said. “There’s nothing in the law that prohibits him from walking up to a child in the street and talking to him.”
Emotions have been high, particularly in the Royal Acres Subdivision, since _____ was released from custody in February.
_____, 49, who lives with his 85-year-old mother, was first arrested at 18, when he was caught sticking his hands in the pants of 5-year-old girl playing outside in the neighborhood. He avoided incarceration for that offense, but in 1997 he went to prison for 10 years for molesting a 7-year-old girl whose parents he’d befriended.
When his prison sentence was nearly over, he was flagged for possibly meeting the criteria of a sexually violent predator. Some officials argued that he should be held indefinitely as a patient at what is now called Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services, a program run by the Missouri Department of Mental Health.
He was held in jail since late 2006, pending the outcome of the state’s civil commitment case against him in that matter. In February, a St. Louis County jury unanimously agreed that _____ was not a sexually violent predator, somebody with a mental abnormality that would make him more likely than not to re-offend if not held in a secure facility. Three previous trials resulted in hung juries.
Keith Krumm, director public safety in Des Peres, told the crowd Wednesday night that _____ checked in with local police the night he was released and had been in compliance ever since. But they've increased patrols around his house and at nearby bus stops.
Officials said _____ couldn't live within 1,000 feet of a school, go to a public swimming pool or give out Halloween candy. But they said laws don’t seem to forbid him from going to a pool in the subdivision because it’s privately run.
In response to questions, officials said _____ wasn’t required to have GPS monitoring or be subject to other rules such as taking polygraph tests because he was not on parole or probation.
There are hundreds of registered sex offenders in St. Louis County, an official said at the meeting. There are five in Des Peres.
Krumm said in an interview before the meeting that none of the other sex offenders in the area had raised the amount of concern that _____ has.
_____, who wasn’t at the meeting, has declined to comment since his release. His attorney said he wanted to move on with his life quietly.
But if the meeting Wednesday night was any indication, there will be a lot of eyes watching him in Des Peres.