Living With Sex Offenders, How To Protect Your Family

We live among sex offenders whether they are registered or not, homeless, or labeled as a high risk.

We showed you some things sex offenders are doing to change their behaviors. In this Newschannel 6 exclusive, Lindsey Rogers looks at what all of us should be doing to keep our families safe and live in a society integrated with offenders.

"The whole idea that sex offenders go out and lurk around in parks and try to snatch children is, that's out of proportion from what we see. It's more caregivers, relatives," Sgt. Ginger Gilmore said.

"These sex offenders have a pattern of grooming their victims. Instead of just snatching them out of mid air, they actually plan this stuff and there's grooming that takes place," Wichita County Probation Director Dave Johnson said.

So, it's important to talk with your kids. Know what's going on and the people who watch over them.

You should be on guard in your home and when you're out in public.

Unless otherwise stated by their parole or probation, a sex offender can go to a restricted zone, just not live there.

"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.

So, are the child safety zones making a difference?

One thing we know after talking with the officer in charge of sex offender registration is the zones leave so few places in Wichita Falls for sex offenders to live, some end up homeless.

In fact, one of the men we found listed as a transient when we first started our investigation has since moved to a different county because he couldn't find an house outside of the zone in his price range.

"I think people don't want to believe it happens in their city. This is where they've grown up and are raising their children and it just doesn't happen here," District Attorney Elect Maureen Shelton said.

A national effort to track sex offenders was formed through the Adam Walsh Child Protections and Safety Act of 2006.

The office of sex offender sentencing, monitoring, apprehending, registering and tracking, or SMART office was formed to help maintain the registration of sex offenders.

While there is a national registry web site through the department of justice, it directs users to each state database.

The online sex offender registry is a tool to help make you more aware, but don't let it give you a false sense of security.

"There's a lot of sex offenders out there who never were required to register based on offense or their time of requirement for registering has ended and they're no longer required to. Plus, you have a lot of sex offenders out there who have never been caught, and they're not registered so you can get a false sense of security by thinking the registration list tells you where they all live and that's not true," Johnson said.

One hot topic that has the states divided is whether juveniles should have to register.

In Texas, the judge decides whether to put them on the registry.

"When you're letting your child sell girl scout cookies or letting your child go to a public bathroom you just need to make sure you know who these people are, monitor, watch everything because you don't know," Johnson said.

The supreme court is working to keep dangerous predators off the streets, for good.

Just last week, it ruled the federal government has the power to keep some sex offenders behind bars indefinitely.

That is, after they served their sentence if officials determine those inmates may prove "sexually dangerous" in the future.

A federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, however, ruled lawmakers had overstepped their authority by passing it, prompting a high court appeal.

Even though there are local and national efforts to help make residents aware of sex offenders, it's still important for you to take precautions to protect yourself and your family.

"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, either watering the grass or pulling weeds or playing with them I'm always out here with them when they're out here, even if I had a fence I'd probably be out here with them," Daniel toler 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

Jonathan Cantu, 22 years old