Sierra Madre residents are outraged after discovering that a convicted child molester, who legally changed his name, has been living hundreds of feet from a local school.
Andrew West Reid was arrested eight years ago for molesting a then-6-year-old girl.
According to the Megan’s Law website of registered sex offenders in California, Reid now goes by the name of Awest.
Although the 60-year-old man was released from prison in January, only recently did the town’s residents discover that he was living back in their midst.
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Awest is now living in a family-owned home just some 500 feet away from St. Rita Catholic School, and 100 feet away from a park.
Police said that he registered in February; his photo, however, was only posted to the Megan’s Law website last month.
Sierra Madre Police Department Chief Larry Giannoni explained that this several-month delay was due to a technicality: the Department of Justice claimed his fingerprints weren’t appropriate and wanted both his photo and his fingerprints retaken.
Many of the town’s residents have expressed outrage over how long it took the man’s identity and location to be posted on the website.
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“Damn the technicalities, he should have been put on that website right away,” said local resident Ellen Burry.
Similarly, some parents expressed concern over his proximity to a local school.
NBC Los Angeles reports that according to the police chief, Awest is exempt from having to live 2000 feet away from the school because he served both federal and state time at a federal facility.
“He can live in the residence, but he cannot have a view of any school, park, playground, anything where kids are,” Giannoni said, explaining that his residence had none of these views.
The police chief added that “he cannot be within a hundred feet of any school. He can’t loiter. In other words, he can’t walk around the corner.”
Following the outrage expressed at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, a meeting was scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. at St. Rita School to further discuss the matter.