17 sex offenders live across the street from Portland High

6:50 PM, Dec 15, 2009   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- 17 sex offenders live right across the street from Portland High School, and right next door to The Boys and Girls Club; and none of these registered sex offenders is breaking the law.

Police say there are currently no restrictions on where a sex offender can live. But that will likely be changing, at least in the city of Portland.

While notifying the neighborhood that one sex offender,  Brian Roy Hains, also known as Brian Malmquist, was living there, they discovered 16 other sex offenders, 12 of them considered serious, and living in the same building, or the one right next door.

At Portland High on Tuesday, letters went home to parents, and the last class of the day was devoted to talking with students about what is going on.

Students talked in small groups about the importance of paying attention to  their surroundings, taking care of each other, keeping their eyes and ears open.

Portland Police also notified the Boys and Girls Club and have stepped up patrols in the area.

Portland Police Chief Chief James Craig says there has been no increase in crime in the neighborhood. He says right now, these sex offenders are entitled to live where ever they want to. But he and school officials are working with the city to change that.

City Manager Joe Gray says there was nothing they could do until now.  He says the last session of legislature passed a statue lets local communities set geographic limits on municipal facilities where children either play or go to school.

Gray says they are considering banning sex offenders from living with 750 feet of any such place.

Gray says he hopes to have something for the city council to vote on in late January, though he says it is unclear if the city will be able to force sex offenders who live near schools now to move.

Chief Craig, who came from Los Angles where there are restrictions around schools, was surprised there is nothing on the books in Maine. Until there is, he says it's important that children and parents be aware that there could well be a sex offender right across the street.

NEWS CENTER

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