East Bay News

Sex offender moves away from Piedmont school

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Wildwood Elementary School in Piedmont

Wildwood Elementary School in Piedmont (KGO Photo)

A convicted sex offender who alarmed neighbors last month by moving into a home near a Piedmont elementary school has left the Bay Area, Piedmont Interim Police Chief John Hunt said today.

James Donnelly, 71, was released from federal prison on Feb. 8 and moved in with his sister, Patricia McCaffrey, at her home at 256 Wildwood Ave., which is across the street from Wildwood Elementary School.

Donnelly was convicted of federal charges of possession of child pornography after authorities found thousands of sexually explicit images of children on a computer in his San Francisco home in 2005, Piedmont police Detective George Phifer said. Donnelly served 32 months in federal prison.

Although Donnelly hasn't been convicted of child molestation, Phifer said two weeks ago that police were concerned about him because he was the subject of a federal investigation into child sex tourism and was a participant in the North American Man-Boy Love Association.

Hunt said Donnelly's family told police on Friday that Donnelly had moved away from Piedmont and neighbors said they saw him moving items on Thursday and Friday.

But he said police weren't able to confirm that Donnelly had re-registered as a sex offender in a new community until today.

Hunt said he can't disclose where Donnelly moved, except to say he's not in Piedmont or the Bay Area.

Hunt said Donnelly was cooperative with Piedmont police when he moved into their community and came to the police station on Feb. 11 to register as a sex offender.

He said Donnelly didn't cause any problems that he's aware of and even volunteered to be monitored by a GPS device.

Phifer said two weeks ago that Piedmont police had hoped to force Donnelly to move away from the school because they believed he was in violation of Jessica's Law, a state law aimed at barring convicted sex offenders from living with 2,000 feet of schools.

But he said the state attorney general's office and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office told police that there's no mechanism for enforcing the law.

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