UTICA — Utica residents upset about a sex offender living within 1,000 feet of a school have voiced their concerns to village Police Chief Robert Curtis.
“The people in that area are upset, and rightfully so; the offender lives by the school, and a lot of people just don’t like an offender moving into their area,” said Curtis.
Sex offenders are required to register their residential information with the local sheriff’s office.
“When a sex offender moves into the area, [the sheriff’s office] is required to send out notification that the offender is within 1,000 feet of your residence. So when the neighbors received these notices, they called us, and we weren’t aware of it. We hadn’t received any notification [from the sheriff’s office],” said Curtis. “As soon as I received the first phone call, I started to check into it and found [the sex offender] is within 1,000 feet of the school.
“Because he is a Level 3 [offender], he cannot be within the 1,000-feet limit of a school or a daycare,” said Curtis. “So now we have to go through the process of sending him the notification that he is inside the area limit. Normally, we send it by registered mail that he can’t live there, and that he is expected to move to a different area where he’s not in violation.”
The police department sent the notice within the last two weeks to the sex offender that he was living too close to the school. The 1,000-feet limit applies to school property as well as to the actual buildings. The school in question is Utica’s new elementary school, which was built two years ago. Curtis believes the oversight could have stemmed from the sheriff’s office mapping system not being up to date.
“We’ve had one other incident like this, but it was taken care of,” said Curtis. “I don’t know if you would call it slipping through the cracks.
“We’ll make every effort to get him to move without having to use [force],” he said.
Calls to the Licking County Sheriff’s Office were not returned.