Bus stop pedophiles: How close is a sex offender to your children?
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- With Halloween coming up, state police said they are working with probation and parole officers to check on supervised sex offenders.
Sex offenders who are on supervision cannot participate in giving out candy to trick-or-treaters.
But the question many have is, 'what about every other day?'
Nicole Mcqueary said she had no idea that one of her neighbors is a registered sex offender and that it worries her as her seven-year-old catches the bus every single morning, and it also hits close to home for her as she was the victim of an assault.
"Just uncomfortable, uneasy, you know, not only do I have my child here, I watch other kids and these kids have ADHD, some of these kids are disabled. I don't really feel like their mind is really capable of discerning people," she said. "I'm 32, and it happened when I was about 17, and I can just say that it causes me to be extra cautious with my child. I fear that somebody will do this to my child, you can't stop a sex offender."
So, do schools check bus routes against the sex offender registry?
Lynchburg City Schools said they do not check their routes against the sex offender registry because they still need to pick up kids in neighborhoods where sex offenders live.
Comparing the sex offender registry to some of LCS' bus routes, we found that one offender, convicted of forcible sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, and other charges, was just .2 miles away from one of the bus stops.
Another offender is working near a bus stop and a daycare on Bedford Ave. in Lynchburg.
That offender is convicted of carnal knowledge, which means inappropriately touching a child.
Virginia law requires every adult convicted of an offense occurring on or after July 1, 2006 shall forever be prohibited from residing within 500 feet of the premises of any place he knows or has reason to know is a child day care center, primary, secondary, or high school.
500 feet is about the full length of a football field, plus another half.
State law does not specifically address the issue of offenders living near bus stops.
"When it came to the bus stops, the problem we had with imposing that law was that the buses in rural areas will stop in front of every house and you could not make every single house a zone in and to itself," said Sen. Steve Newman, (R) 23rd District. "We do encourage schools and bus stops that are aggregated to move to an area that does not have an individual close to them, but you can't have every bus stop included."
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recommends you teach your children to tell an adult if they are approached by someone acting strange as well as a safe place to go if they need help after getting off at the bus stop.
If you have a concern at a bus stop location, you should contact the school system or police.
To search the sex offender registry, click here.
To learn more about Virginia laws regarding the sex offender registry, click here.