Monday, October 22, 2001

Sex offenders lived near day-care center

ŁThe Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — An apartment building here had been the state's No. 1 housing choice for sex offenders — until last week.

        St. James Place housed seven of Fayette County's 135 registered sex offenders. That's the greatest number found at any single address in Kentucky outside of jails and prisons.

        Four of the seven lived too close to Central Christian Church's day-care cen ter, about 550 feet away.

        Kentucky law forbids registered sex offenders on probation or parole from living within 1,000 feet of a school or day care.

        Neither St. James Place nor the Lexington probation and parole office, which keeps track of offenders' addresses, realized that until confronted with the results from a Lexington Herald-Leader investigation.

        “This was one of those instances where there was a mistake,” said Pamela Trautner, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

        Three of the sex offenders moved by Friday, Ms. Trautner said. A fourth person, who is disabled, will need a few days more to find an appropriate apartment, she said.

        The problem points to flaws in the state's “Megan's Law,” named for New Jersey child Megan Kanka, who was raped and killed in 1994 by a twice-convicted sex offender who had moved into her neighborhood without notice.

        The flaws: authorities sometimes don't know where sex offenders live, and even when an accurate address is on record, nobody warns the neighbors.

        One in 12 registered sex offenders in Kentucky has an address listed as “unknown.” That means the state can't say where 172 convicted sex offenders are living.


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- Sex offenders lived near day-care center