CHULA VISTA -- Parents in one Chula Vista neighborhood say they fear for their children’s safety after learning registered sex offenders are living near their elementary school.“I have no words, no words -- very scary,” said a mother of two who called FOX 5 after getting a letter sent to parents telling them 13 registered sex offenders are living near or within walking distance of Feaster Charter School on Flower Street.
According to the Megan’s Law website, which allows the public to search for registered sex offenders in their neighborhood, one of the 13 offenders has faced child pornography charges in the past and lives just down the street from the school.“I’m just shocked, because they didn’t tell us earlier,” she said.Registered sex offenders have recently gotten some leeway as to where they can live.In March, a Supreme Court ruling lifted some of their residency restrictions, ruling unconstitutional a portion of a voter-approved law prohibiting sex offenders from living near schools and parks.She said she’s received calls from people with concerns that they might be violating parole if they turn on the porch light for a visiting relative or if they post a pumpkin drawing on the refrigerator created by one of their own children.
“They don’t know truly what is required of them.,” Bellucci said, adding that if a parolee makes the wrong decision, he or she could end up back in custody.“There’s some pretty big stakes here,” she said.
Officials with the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the defendant in the lawsuit, said this week that they had received the lawsuit but were unable to comment on the specifics.
For more than 20 years, the department has run what it calls “Operation Boo,” a statewide Halloween night event in which parole officers and other law enforcement conduct compliance checks on known sex offenders.
Since then, many have been allowed to move near a school if they can prove their need for housing.
"We are very upset with the effects of this law," said Anthony Millican, Spokesperson for the Chula Vista Elementary School District.
"We are working with the Chula Vista Police Department to see what are our options," said Millican.