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House of sex offenders between Henrico schools concerns neighbors

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – An old program for sex offenders has created new concerns in Henrico County. Michael Basle recently moved into a home along Strath Road in eastern Henrico. He said he had no idea there was a house of convicted sex offenders living next door.

“I’ve been told by police and the Varina district supervisor that they’re on medication, they’re getting counseling and treatment,” Basle said about the seven men who live in the home.

Some of the men were convicted of crimes including rape and having sex with minors, according to the state sex offender database.

The men have served their prison time and live in a home on Strath Road has part of a 90-day community treatment program. The men are monitored by police, staff and cameras set up throughout the property.

Despite the security, some neighbors said they felt this Varina neighborhood was not the right place for the home because it sits between two elementary schools.

“I think it’s too close. Yes, I do. Yes, it should be somewhere else,” neighbor Marjorie Marshall said.

Varina Elementary School is a little more than half-a-mile from the home. Mehfoud Elementary School is about one mile from the halfway house.

The home is far enough from the schools as to not violate state code. State law prohibits convicted sex offenders from living within 500 feet of a school.

Basle said considering the unique layout of his neighborhood, the state shouldn’t take a one-size fits all approach.

“Hopefully one day we can move them to a more distant area, away from these elementary schools,” Basle said.

Once the current group of sex offenders completes the 90-day program, a new group will move in.

The Virginia Department of Corrections helps run this private facility. A spokesman said there have been no reported incidents because of this home and reiterated the point at the home is compliant with all state laws.

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