RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Katie Drummond became worried when her pre-kindergartener brought home a letter from the principal at St. Benedict’s School on Grove Avenue warning that a registered sex offender was living next to the school.
The letter instructed parents to take precautions and to call police if they noticed the offender loitering outside the school.
“It does concern us that he’s living right across the street,” Drummond says. “He can see the school from his apartment, he doesn’t even need to be outside.”
Fifty-year-old Michael Davis pled guilty in October to aggravated sexual battery of a 3-year-old child.
According to assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Edward Nickel, a judge sentenced Davis to 10 years behind bars, but suspended nine years and nine months of the sentence.
The prosecutor says among the conditions of his parole, Davis is required to register as a sex offender and is not allowed within 100 feet of a school.
However, school administrators and neighbors living in the Museum District say Davis is still living across the street from the school in an apartment inside a two-story home, just 52 feet away.
Neighbor Maura Black says she’s been pleading with police and the Virginia Department of Corrections to make Davis move, but says she’s been told Davis is not violating his parole by living inside the home.
“If the law indeed lets him live there, which I don’t think it does,” Black argues, “then the law needs to be changed.”
CBS 6 approached Davis at his home and asked him if he had been told to move. Davis said he had not. When asked whether he was allowed to be within 100 feet of the school, Davis replied “I believe so, yes.”
Davis, however, says he’s aware that parents and neighbors are upset by his presence and therefore plans to eventually move.
The Virginia Department of Corrections tells CBS that probation and parole officers are reviewing the case and will make sure the law is being followed. The DOC writes “if any violations are apparent, appropriate action will be taken.”
CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone says laws regarding sexual offenders are complicated.
Those who are convicted of rape, sodomy or object penetration involving a minor are subject to laws that requires they stay 500 feet away from schools. Offenders convicted of less violent offenses are restricted by 100 feet. However, there are loopholes in both laws that allow certain offenders to live near schools.
“This is such a murky area and it’s very complicated,” Stone says. “Parents are not understanding and we understand why they’re not.”
Katie Drummond says she definitely cannot understand the reason Davis is still living just 52 feet from the school.
“It seems to kind of put the burden on us, as parents, to watch out for him,” Drummond says.
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