Sex Offender Laws, Not Everyone Is On The Books - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Sex Offender Laws, Not Everyone Is On The Books

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In our eye-opening investigation, Sunday night we revealed lost sex offenders living in our community.

They're homeless and have no permanent address listed with law enforcement, which means, there is no way for you to know if they live near your family.

We also exposed that although sex offenders can't live in child safety zones they are free to go to those areas.

Monday night we're breaking down those zones and take a look at some areas of Wichita falls most populated with sex offenders.

Lindsey Rogers talked with several residents living in those neighborhoods to listen to their concerns in this Newschannel 6 exclusive.

"You never know where they're going to turn up. They could turn up in the best neighborhood, you just never know when they're going to turn up, so when my kids are playing in the front yard, backyard, especially in the front yard, I'm out here with them," said Daniel Toler.

The tan shaded areas in the child safety zone map of Wichita Falls are all the places registered sex offenders can not live.

The city ordinance restricts them from living within 1,000 feet of what the city considers a school, childcare facility, public or private youth center or city park.

"That is not for every registered sex offender. It was enacted in 2006 and they grand-fathered everyone who was already established in a residence at that time," said Sgt. Ginger Gilmore with Wichita Falls Police.

If a sex offender does not comply with this ordinance, they will be fined up to $2,000 each day they breach the zone.

Even one foot of property inside that zone is considered a violation.

"We try every few months to go out and do a complete check of all the sex offenders and we just call it a verification check. We go knock on doors and make sure we see them in person to make sure they are living where they're supposed to be living. We don't rely solely on them coming in and checking with us, we also are proactive active and go out and do checks," Sgt. Gilmore said.

Iowa Park and Electra have similar ordinances in place.

However, while Burkburnett city commissioners have brought the issue to the table, they currently do not have an ordinance regarding public safety zones in place.

With so much of the city in a safety zone, it doesn't leave many areas of town for registered sex offenders to live.

Which explains why it appears many of them live in clusters.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Records Service, six registered sex offenders live on Lucile Ave. alone, and that doesn't include the at least five others who live just blocks away.

"We shouldn't have to live where we're afraid and I know there are other elements of life that make you afraid but I think this is a pretty high risk," said one neighbor we talked with.

We spoke with several residents who live on Falls Drive.

Like Lucile Avenue, the street is not in a child safety zone and consequently has one of the highest populations of high-risk offenders.

"I don't like it one bit, I've had a couple different ideas. I think personally the neighbors should all get together and run them out of here but you know, that's not legal," Toler said.

He is the father of three children all under the age of five.

While he was aware of one sex offender living around the corner from him, we showed him two others living just a few hundred feet away. Both convicted of sex crimes against children.

Jimmy Ray Staley was convicted in 1996 of aggravated sexual assault of a nine year old girl. In 1999 Jack Lynn Bowerman was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a four year old girl little girl.

" I think we should be able to live wherever we want without fear of running into an ex con," Toler said.  

Registered sex offender 21 year old Christopher Lee Pierce also lives on Falls Drive.

In 2005, he was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of an 86 year old.

That information didn't set well with one widow we talked with, who preferred to remain anonymous.

"You feel pretty shaky, you feel pretty threatened and it's a very uncomfortable feeling to know your neighbor had molested an elderly person and you are elderly. You don't feel too safe or secure," she said.

These sex offenders aren't doing anything illegal, and these neighbors know it.

While they realize they have to live somewhere, most just wish it wasn't on their street.

Some were so upset when they first heard the news a sex offender was living so close, they now take extra steps to protect themselves and their families.

"I had my grandson stay with me for quite a while so I wouldn't be here alone and that gave me a lot of consolation, but I can't have babysitters all of the time."

"Any responsible parent who worries about their kids would probably be outside with them regardless who's in the neighborhood because you just never know and you have to be aware of your surroundings," Toler said.

"Don't think that because you live in a safety zone, that you need to be less diligent about watching your kiddos. There's still a possibility there are bad guys out there who are not registering. Don't let that lure you in to a sense that everything's just fine because I live in a safety zone," Sgt. Gilmore said.

You've now seen some of the areas of Wichita Falls most populated with registered sex offenders and in particular, high-risk sex offenders.

Tuesday night we'll be looking at those high risk offenders how are their risk levels rated?

We'll also be taking a closer look at how the system works and who is supervising sex offenders in our community.

You'll hear from the person whose job it is to prosecute these offenders.

She reveals a moment that even surprised her.

"Police officer, we had a police officer here in Wichita falls that I worked with and he had sexually assaulted a relative of his many years prior and she finally disclosed when she was an adult in counseling and that started the ball rolling and I tried the case in front of a jury and they ended up giving him ten years in prison. So that was something that was surprising because during the day he would put his badge on and arrest these same people that were doing the same acts as him he was just doing them at night without his badge on," District Attorney Elect Maureen Shelton said.

Law Enforcement officers need your help catching this most wanted sex offender in Texoma.

22-year-old Jonathan Guadalupe Cantu is wanted for violation of probation for sexual assault of a child and violation of probation for burglary of a habitation.

He is 5'8'', 170lbs. with black hair and brown eyes.

He has a "Texas" tattoo on his upper left arm and a "Soccer #8" on his upper right arm.

If you have any information that may lead to the capture and arrest of Jonathan Cantu you are asked to call the Wichita County Adult Probation Department at (940) 766-8213.

 

Texas Sex Offender Registry Online

  

Johnathan Cantu, 22 years old

 

STATIC 99 FORM

 

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