City: Sex Offender Info "Of No Legitimate Concern"

Newschannel 6 is still pressing for answers on behalf of a local home day care owner. Sandy Cadena first reached out to us on facebook last month. She had discovered a registered sex offender – living just feet from her home business, Sandy's Little Darlings. We went to work, trying to find out how city officials could allow this to happen.

Newschannel 6 submitted a Freedom of Information Request seeking several pieces of information. Below is the request we submitted:

Requestor seeks documents, policy information and records from the City of Wichita Falls, Texas, to-wit:

                Item 1: Lists of schools, childcare facilities, public or private youth centers, or city parks that are taken into consideration pursuant to enforcement of "Child Safe Zones" as defined in Wichita Falls Municipal Code Chapter 78 Sec. 78-150 and 78-151.

                Item 2: Policy information as to which department, position or city entity compiles the list requested in Item 1.

                Item 3: Records or information to show when a day care "Sandy's Little Darlings", located at 4631 Summit Dr., was added to the list requested in Item 1.

                Item 4: Any and all information that pertains to when one (name of sex offender), a White Male born on or about (DOB of offender) established residency (address of offender), Wichita Falls. Requestor submits this item of information is the very essence of the matter in question and should be public information because (offender) is a registered sex offender according to the Texas Department of Public Safety Registry.  (Offender) gave up his right to privacy about residence when he was convicted of 2 separate counts of Indecency W/Child and was required to register in a public database.

                Item 5: Any and all information regarding when (Offender) registered with the City of Wichita Falls, Texas Police Department as a sex offender.

                Item 6: Policy information regarding sex offender registration procedures in the City of Wichita Falls, Texas.

Wednesday morning, we received a packet in response to our request. Contained in the packet is a map of child safe zones, a list of child safe zones, DPS sex offender registry information about the offender and a letter addressed to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot.

In the letter, Assistant City Attorney Peter Scott asks for permission to not answer the rest of our questions. In part, he cites privacy laws saying some of the records containing information about the offender's residency are of "no legitimate concern to the public."

The offender in-question no longer lives near the day care. His address as of this week is registered to an apartment across town. Sandy Cadena is happy that the man is gone from the neighborhood. Newschannel 6 still wants to know how it could have happened.

In 2007, Cadena had a similar problem, where a sex offender was allowed to move-in down the street from her day care. The City Attorney's office admitted to Newschannel 6 then that Sandy's Little Darlings somehow slipped through the cracks and was not on the list. Sandy says she was told she would be put on the list.

To finally learn all the facts, Newschannel 6 will require more information from the City of Wichita Falls. Whether or not that will happen is now in the hands of the Texas Attorney General's office in Austin. We will let you know when they decide what must be released.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6