Sex offenders living near Tulsa schools
Tuesday, December 14th 2004, 1:57 pm
By: News On 6
Many Tulsa parents are on edge after a man kidnapped an 8 year old girl near a school Monday.
Oklahoma has a new law that says convicted sex offenders are not allowed to live within 2,000 feet of a school. A Tulsa man says his neighbor is breaking that law and he's been trying to get someone to do something about it for months.
After Monday, he feels the situation is even more urgent, so he called News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright.
Greg Johnson has a 7 year old daughter, so he was alarmed when he learned in August that his next-door neighbor is a convicted sex offender, so concerned that he measured the distance from the neighbor's house to two nearby schools. "Not only within 200 feet of two schools but right on a main thoroughfare where children walk through here everyday."
Johnson called police who took their own measurements and sure enough, the man lives 1,800 feet from Foster Middle and 1,000 feet from Disney Elementary, so they sent a report to the District Attorney, who is now reviewing the law.
The neighbor is Billy Jenkins[pictured], a man in his 70's with emphysema who served six years of a 15 year sentence for sexual abuse of a minor. We asked him what he thinks about the law and whether he thinks he should have to move. Mr. Jenkins doesn't believe he's breaking the law because he says he moved in six months before the law went into effect. He says it's like getting a speeding ticket two years ago and paying the fine then they come to you and say we changed the law so you owe us $25.
He says it's simply not fair. The News on 6 did crime mapping of the sex offenders living around Disney Elementary school and several popped up, although it's hard to tell exactly how close they live.
Johnson says Oklahoma passed this law to keep sex offenders away from school children and it should be enforced. "I want the gentleman gone. I hate to be mean, but the law is on the books and I want him gone."
Jenkins told Lori Fullbright, he's contacted attorneys and the ACLU because he thinks the law is vague and open to interpretation and actually, police and the Tulsa County DA agree. They're not sure if the law means if you moved near a school before your conviction, you can stay, or if you moved in before the law took effect, you can stay. Jenkins moved in after his conviction but before the law.
The Tulsa County DA plans to meet with lawmakers to do more research. If they decide Jenkins is breaking the law, it would be the first case under the new law.