Registered sex offenders reside along some Safe Passage routes
September 10, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The ABC7 I-Team has uncovered a hidden danger lurking on school Safe Passage routes: sex offenders. Gangs and bullets aren't the only threats facing Chicago children walking to school.
The I-Team found numerous Safe Passage routes mapped out by Chicago school officials direct students through a gauntlet of sex offenders, some who assaulted children.
The finding comes after the I-Team cross-checked home addresses for convicted sex-offenders against Safe Passage routes that children now walk every day.
Bright yellow signs and adults on lookout police on patrol: everyone watching for the obvious. But the I-Team uncovers potentially dangerous predators, living right along the routes. Such as Cory Calhoun, convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against a 13-year-old; Jay Parker, convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old; or Michael Olds, convicted child pornographer and aggravated criminal sexual against a 9-year-old.
These registered child sex offenders and others now living along designated safe passage routes where children walk each day.
"Oh yeah, that's not safe at all, because he's a predator," said Deloise Watson, "Safe Passage" parent. "They should have did their research before they did the Safe Passage routes."
The I-Team checked state sex offender records against all 53 new Safe Passageways. We found sex offenders registered along 30-percent of the city's new safe routes. At least 20 sex offenders; nine of them convicted of crimes against children.
Registered child sex offender Jay Parker insists he's not a threat.
ABC7's Chuck Goudie asks, "Have you seen school children walking back and forth here?"
"Well yeah, I say hi to them. What am I going to do, drop my drawers," said Jay Parker, registered sex offender on Safe Passage route.
Along this clearly marked Safe Passage, a sex offender's aunt comes to the door of the home where he is registered.
"He talk to them and he make them behave themselves when they running," said Alma Calhoun, aunt of registered sex offender.
State law bans sex offenders from living within 500 feet of schools. But newly-mapped Safe Passage routes bring school children right by their homes twice a day. The I-Team even found several routes where the Safe Passage sign is directly in front of a sex offender's home.
"We took a really huge, holistic approach looking at every possible thing there could be. Sex offenders just being one avenue of that," said Dep. Chief Steve Georgas, Chicago Police Department.
"Everything ranging from being aware of specific risks such as specific homes, we are equipping our Safe Passage workers with that information," said Jadine Chou, safety and security chief, CPS.
Even with all that they have to worry about, these parents are still outraged.
"I'm mad as hell. You move in these areas and they don't tell you what's goin' on," said Yureka Coleman, "Safe Passage" parent.
The sex offender registry is often incorrect, as an I-Team investigation determined several years ago. That's why we actually went to some of the listed addresses to talk with offenders living on Safe Passage routes.
There could be many more sex offenders on safe routes than are named in the police database, or fewer.
Illinois State Sex Offender registry:
Illinois Sex Offender map:
iteam, chuck goudie
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