80ºF

Parents upset about sex predator living near kids' ballpark

Parents have been told that nothing can be done about a registered sexual predator who lives on South Vermont Street, next to a children’s baseball park in Green Cove Springs.

The word has spread among parents and they’re not happy.  Particularly because William Kuhn, who is registered as a sexual predator, is legally allowed to live there.

When parents showed up to Carl Pugh Park for baseball and softball games Tuesday evening, many of them kept an eye out over the back fence because a home, behind an opening in the trees, is where Kuhn is listed as living. 

Parents have been circulating a flier to make others aware.

Mandy Calley, a mom and board member with the Green Cove Springs Baseball-Softball Association, says she is outraged. She says she confronted Kuhn when he was out in the yard. 

“As a parent, I’m not happy about it at all.  As a board member, I’m even more stressed out about it because we’re responsible for children at the park, as well as the parents,” said Mandy Calley.

Calley told News4Jax that Kuhn comes out to watch the games.

“I’ve actually spoken to him and he says he likes to watch children play baseball,” she said.

Parents are concerned both about children on the field, as well as kids who run around and play nearby. Laura Rusk, a neighbor, says she’s been concerned ever since Kuhn moved in.

“We want him gone.  There’s softball fields right here.  There’s kids here all the time.  We don’t need somebody like that around here with all these kids,” Rusk said.

News4Jax stopped by Kuhn’s address and no one answered.

According to the Clay County Sheriff's Office, he’s legally allowed to live near the park because his arrest was for sexual battery on a child back in 2002,

Gil Smith, News4Jax crime analyst, says that’s because he was arrested before laws were passed barring sex predators from living too close to parks, or places where children gather.

“If the person’s offense occurred prior to 2004, then they don’t have those guidelines in terms of living a certain distance away,” Smith said. “That’s ridiculous.  How do you have that kind of person around children? And the law, just because it was two years prior to law going into effect, why is it not retroactive? It’s just crazy to me.”

Kuhn has been charged since 2002 for probation violations because he didn’t report his correct address in a timely manner, according to the Sheriff's Office. He was never arrested for re-offending.


About the Author: