Live 5 News investigates: Sex offenders living near school bus stops

Live 5 News investigates: Sex offenders living near school bus stops

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A convicted sex offender may be living near your child's school bus stop and there's nothing you can do about it.

The law allows them to do so. You can't make them move somewhere else

It's something many parents may not think about.

"Oh, just the thought of that scares me, said parent Lannette Thomas.

Under state law, a convicted child sex offender is not allowed to live within one thousand feet of a school, licensed daycare or playground.

 "After that, there is no restrictions, like most offenders,” explained Bob Stober , an investigator for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. “There is no law in South Carolina about school bus stops at all for anybody."

So, where in the Tri County area would you most likely find a sex offender living near a school bus stop?

As part of my investigation, I researched bus stops for elementary school kids in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties.

Then I went on the state's sex offender registry to find the zip code in each county where the most offenders live.

In Charleston County, the 29405 zip code in North Charleston has the most offenders, 175.

In Dorchester County, the 29483 zip code in Summerville has the most sex offenders, 139.

And in Berkeley County, the 29445 zip code in Goose Creek has the most offenders, 81.

Fredina Samuels' children ride the school bus in the North Charleston zip code.

"Oh my gosh I would be scared," said Samuels.

Lanette Thomas' son also catches the bus in that zip code.

"Oh my God, I'll be like that be crazy! I wouldn't accept that," Thomas said.

During my investigation I also learned there is a tool for parents to track sex offenders near school bus stops.

In fact state law requires school districts at the beginning of the school year to provide the names and addresses of every offender who lives within one thousand feet of a school bus stop.

According to the law, school districts must notify parents via letter or have a link to the sex offender registry on their own websites.

That way, a parent can type in their address and find out which offenders live near them or the bus stops.

I checked all three school district websites and all have the link to the registry.

Still, sex offender investigator Stober suggests parents teach their kids to avoid strangers and wait with them at the bus stop.

"Whether it's stepping out in the road or being approached by a stranger, yes, you should be at the bus stop," Stober suggested.

An official with Dorchester School District 4 told me they do not have the sex offender registry link on their website and that they use another method to notify parents if a sex offender lives near a bus stop.

However the official told me because of our story they will add the link soon.

Copyright 2014 WCSC. All rights reserved.