Why is a sex offender living with children?

March 6, 2009 4:52:17 PM PST
Deputies are going into neighborhoods to check on dozens of registered sex offenders to make sure they're following the rules. It's a broad sweep. [SEX OFFENDER SEARCH: Check for sex offenders near your home]

The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office has never done a sweep of this magnitude before, knocking on the doors of about 200 sex offenders to make sure they're doing what they should be. Investigators said twenty of them, or ten percent, were not.

Over the course of four days last month, deputies knocked on doors of 200 registered sex offenders living across Fort Bend County.

"If they don't intend to comply with the law, they might want to live somewhere besides Fort Bend County," said Chief Craig Brady of the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office.

They found all but three of the offenders living right where they said they'd be.

So what could land the others back in jail or prison? Investigators said most of the violations were for not informing officials of a change in employment or of the vehicle the sex offender drives.

Investigators said the most egregious offense was happening quietly in a trailer home near Arcola. They told us a sex offender who served time for the aggravated sexual assault of a child is living with two children, a teenager and an 8-year-old girl.

"When you have unregistered children residing in that home, they're in grave danger," said Chief Brady.

Edward Zamora, 79, admits he served 12 years in prison. He said the kids are his grandchildren and that there's no law prohibiting him from living with them. Authorities said he is required by law to tell them the kids are there though.

"I can't help it. I mean, you know, my daughter lives here. She's got the kids. She ain't got no place to go, so she lives here with me," said Zamora.

No one has been arrested as part of the sweep. The Sheriff's Office is planning to ask the district attorney to file charges against all 20 of those believed in violation of the law. If convicted, each person could get up to 10 years in prison.

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