HAMPTON, Pa. (KDKA) — Through flyers distributed by Hampton Township police, parents and people living in the area of Central Elementary School were notified that a registered sex offender had moved nearby.
Community notification is required under Pennsylvania's Megan's Law, but the law does not restrict where an offender can live.
After learning this person was living less than 1,200 feet away from where her three children learn and play at recess, Katie Wymard went to work to try to change the law.
"They are out at recess every day and it is literally in his backyard," Wymard said. "And his crimes are against children."
Wymard and a friend started a letter-writing campaign and a petition calling for a law that would prohibit any sex offender registered under Megan's Law from living within 2,500 feet of any public or private school, preschool, or child care facility in the state.
Currently, Pennsylvania's Megan's Law does not restrict where a sexual offender or sexually violent predator/sexually violent delinquent child is permitted to live.
The law states that an offender may be restricted from residing near a school, park, day care center, etc. if they are on parole, probation, or a specific court order.
Therefore, the circumstances in Hampton Township are in accordance with the law. Since being posted online Tuesday, Wymard's petition has surpassed 800 signatures.
In 2017, a similar bill was introduced to prohibit convicted sex offenders from living near schools or day cares, but it didn't pass.
Hampton Township School District said in a statement that it was notified by police that the offender moved into an area close to the elementary school.
"We maintain a very close working relationship with the Hampton Township Police Department, and we will continue to work with them, as we always do, to take all appropriate precautions," the district said. "The safety of our students and staff will always be our top priority."
Wymard said she plans to submit the signatures and letters to the state attorney general on Dec. 15.
KDKA-TV attempted to speak to the man living in the neighborhood who was convicted of sex crimes but was unsuccessful on Wednesday.
Wymard said any letters can be submitted to email@example.com.
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