Residents Learn Of Registered Sex Offender Through Website, Not City - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Brookland, AR -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Residents Learn Of Registered Sex Offender Through Website, Not City

April 6, 2005 – Posted at 6:09 CDT

BROOKLAND, AR -- Parents in Brookland want to know why they were not told about a registered sex offender.

Steven Ray Alwin is a level three Registered Sex Offender and lives in a house only a street over from a park and just blocks away from the local school in Brookland. And that's what has parents so worried.

“He has privacy, my children have been robbed. Can they walk home from school now? No, certainly not. Their activities that could have otherwise been unattended or attended with little supervision will not happen,” said concerned parent Dorothy Frederick.

“We always thought of Brookland as a bedroom community, real quiet, kids were able to play, but not anymore,” said neighbor Michael Sloan.

Brookland parents say they only learned of registered sex offender in their neighborhood by accident. Frederick discovered where Alwin lives using the website.

“My immediate reaction was disgust,” said Frederick, “I couldn't believe this was happening. I made an initial call to the chief of police thinking he would reassure my feelings of anger, disgust and he didn't.”

Mayor Joe McKeel says folks have known, but the city wasn't sure just who they could inform.

“The residents in the very immediate area have know for several years that a sex offender lives on that street, but we didn't broaden it any wider,” said McKeel, “I was misinformed earlier about if you could notify or couldn't notify and when Jonesboro started this, then we started researching what we could do.”

A mistake that could have been costly.

“What is there to hide, what don't we know? Why haven't you equipped us? I mean we are parents, this is our right to be able to protect our children,” said Frederick.

“We have never denied anybody that information,” said McKeel, “The mistake or error that we made is that we should have notified a larger area. We weren't aware of that, but today we know.”

Alwin didn't want to talk with us on camera but he did say there is always two sides to every story and that he's lived here for years and never had a problem before.

Police officials will be handing out flyers to folks in the neighborhood in the next coming days.

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