Are sex offenders hiding out near schools ?
Local 4 Defenders go on ride along with sheriff to check addresses of offenders
It's a new school year and parents have a lot on their plate. But, one important thing parents need to do is check the Michigan sex offender registry and see if any new sex offenders have moved into the neighborhood.
As school lets out for the day, kids bounce off the bus and into their neighborhoods. But, who else is living in the neighborhood?
"There are children that play over there, and the school is up on the hill, and they all come this way to go home," said one woman
Richard Shipp is just one sex offender who was hiding out and he is not the kind of person you want roaming the streets unaccounted for.
He went to jail for getting his daughter's 14-year-old friend drunk on vodka and Hot Damn Schnapps. When the teen girl passed out drunk, Shipp sexually assaulted her.
Shipp is exactly the kind of predator the sex offender registry was created for. The registry is a list of convicted predators with name, photo, crime and address all listed. The list is available to the public on the internet or at any local police station. "Yes I am, I'm very glad it's there that way I know who's around and who my children should be aware of and who I should be because you never know," said another mother. For whatever reason Shipp decided not to register so no one in his Oakland County neighborhood knew anything about his criminal sexual past.
"Why are they being deceptive with us and not readily complying with the requirements of the stature," said Sergeant Stacy O'Brien with the Macomb County Sheriff's Department.
It is O'Brien's job to check on the more than 50 sex offenders who live in his jurisdiction alone.
The Defenders went on a ride along with Sergeant O'Brien as he went predator to predator making sure the people who went to jail for sex crimes --then moved into Macomb Township --are in fact living where they say they are. "It's very important, I mean these individuals have been in a lot of cases convicted of some pretty serious crimes and we want to make sure that they don't become repeat offenders and that we keep track of them, that we know where they're at," said O'Brien.
By checking the list and driving around making sure predators are where they are supposed to be, police often find the predators that are not where they are supposed to be.
"We may then discover that, hey this individual is living within a thousand feet of a school, it would be violation of the safety zone," said O'Brien.
Donald Bush didn't want anyone to know where he was living in Wayne County, perhaps because he was living only 750 feet from a school. Or perhaps because he was living in a home with minor children, both are violations.
Bush went to jail for raping a 13-year-old girl in Oklahoma and when he got out, he moved to Michigan and wasn't about to put his name, photo and address on the sex registry where anyone could see it. But, a man who raped a 13-year-old girl and is now hiding in a home near a school is plenty for residents to worry about.
"That's awful, that's awful. I have kids and they are at the age where I can let them go out now, but now with all this happening, I don't know now," said mother of two Rosilee Shegitz.
Bush was hiding out just blocks away from Shegitz's home.
"It just makes me angry, so angry that my kids, I bring these kids into the world and they can't play freely like they want to because of people like that," Shegitz said.
Shegitz says one of the reasons she loves her home is because it is within 1000 feet of a school which means no sex offenders can live in her neighborhood.
She is outraged that a predator decided not to register and moved in anyway.
"He shouldn't be able to live close to a school, there are kindergartners down here, " she said. "It's just wrong."
Someone who knew Bush's past turned him into police who moved in quickly and locked him up. Police charged him with failing to register, just like Richard Shipp who is now in federal prison for two years. When Shipp and Bush get out they are supposed to register their new addresses.
"I'm very very scared of it. I wish there was a different way to do stuff, put them away and not be able to live in the city if they do that where little children are," said Shegitz.
The closer the public and police follow those who are on the registry the more often they will become aware of those who try and dodge the rules by moving frequently or moving out of state.
If you know that a sex offender is moving out of your neighborhood let police know so they can keep track and make sure they register when they move into a new neighborhood.
Check several times a year because the list is constantly changing.
You can check the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry HERE.