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School’s New Midtown Location Near Sex Offenders Concerns Parents

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Nick Janes joined KOVR/KMAX in December 2008 as a reporter. Nick...
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – As three Sacramento elementary schools get ready to combine and move into to a new neighborhood, concerns arise over the more than two dozen registered sex offenders living nearby.

“For us, it’s another reason why we will not send our sons there,” mother Kathy Sorenson said.

Beginning in the fall, Merryhill Schools will consolidate three of its locations and open a private kindergarten through eighth grade school in a building at 26th and V Streets in midtown Sacramento, an area populated with many registered sex offenders.

Convicted sex offenders are not allowed to be within 2,000 feet of a school. However, that doesn’t seem to worry Carl Rubalcava.

“No, that don’t apply to me,” said Rubalcava. “It just don’t.”

Just next door is Carl Peters, another registered sex offender who isn’t worried about having to move.

“That’ll have to be settled out, I’m not worried about that right now,” said Peters.

For Heidi Trauner, it’s enough to give her second thoughts about the safety of her second grader’s new school.

“I wasn’t 100 percent convinced. I was about 60 to 70 percent convinced. Now, I’m about 40 percent convinced,” she said.

According to Megan’s Law, about 30 registered sex offenders live less than one mile away from the school’s future site. Compared to the Davis Merryhill School, where Trauner’s daughter currently attends, only three sex offenders live within a mile.

Trauner says the school simply hasn’t respond to the concerns of her child’s safety.

“They don’t answer that question,” she said.

Parents like Trauner were under the impression nearby sex offenders would have to move due to the 2,000-foot mandate established with 2006’s Jessica’s Law.

“I thought 2,000 feet was 2,000 feet; you can’t be anywhere near there,” said Sorenson.

However, the reality is much more complicated. Sacramento police say the way Jessica’s Law was written makes it virtually unenforceable and is even being called uneven and unconstitutional.

Caught in the middle of a legal gray area, sex offenders living within 2,000 feet of the school most likely aren’t going anywhere.

“(Parents) should be concerned but not worried,” said Peters just before he closed his door on CBS13’s cameras.

Police say the 2,000-foot rule is enforced for sex offenders on parole, but parolees are able to ask the courts for special permission to live within 2,000 feet of a park or school.

CBS13 reached out to Merryhill Schools several times, but our calls for comment were not returned.

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