California community concerned with sex offender living within blocks of elementary school
FAIRFIELD -- A man on parole for sex crimes involving children is being allowed to live within blocks of a Fairfield elementary school.
James Shephard turned away from KTXL cameras at the Fairfield home he found just nine days after being released from jail.
The woman with him when reporters arrived said she was his sister.
“He’s never touched me or mine, so I don't know if any of those things are true or not," she said.
Shephard was convicted of sexually abusing a boy and two girls between 9 and 13 years old in Washington State and California. The crimes happened in 1982 and 2006.
The Cortez family was shocked to hear those details since the park they vist is just two blocks from Shephard's new front door.
"As you can see there is a park here. There is a school that's just right next to this park,” said mother of four Luisa Cortez. “There's soccer teams that practice here and at these other fields over there. And so it almost feels like there isn't … This is like the worst place to relocate somebody who has convictions."
"We checked. Per his terms, he can't be within 250 feet of a school or a park and where that residence is at he's outside those boundaries,” said Fairfield Police Lt. Jausiah Jacobsen.
The park is 700 feet away from Shephard's house and .2 miles from K.I. Jones Elementary School as it undergoes some summer construction.
For the zip code that Shephard now lives in, a search of the Megan's Law database, which was created to track sex offenders, shows 263 live in the area.
Deb Wilder said she cried when she learned from a relative of Shephard's victims, who was handing out fliers of him, that she will now have to look out her front door at the home of someone who has attacked children. She was raped twice as a teen.
“My whole problem is that all the sexual offenders are allowed to just have their lives and those of us who survived are always affected," Wilder said.
To make sure he isn't at a park, school or any other place where children congregate, Shephard's movements will be tracked by an ankle monitor.
To keep your child safe from any predators, tips on the Megan's Law website suggest that you be mindful of your children's activities. Pay attention to any adults who may be paying too close attention to them for no reason.
Experts also advise parents to teach their children about their bodies, emphasizing what parts are private and that no adult should touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. If it happens, empower them to tell someone.