Sex offender returns home - around the corner from his victims - KMOV.com

Sex offender returns home - around the corner from his victims

(KMOV) -- A juvenile sex offender pleads guilty to a second sex crime -- this time -- as an adult. 

Michael Church has admitted to attempting to lure two little girls from their East Alton home in August.  Wednesday he registered as a sex offender, and now he's back at home, living right around the corner from the victims.
 
It comes down to protecting victims versus infringing on someone's rights. 
 
According to 911 records, Church lives just 267 feet away from the children he admitted to trying to lure.
 
"They will hold him in jail until he pleads guilty, and then when he pleads guilty they let him walk like a free man," Marie, the victims' mother, says.
 
Marie found out that newly-registered sex offender Michael Church was out of jail when her daughters saw him driving by their home.
 
"My children are scared," Marie says.  "He lives 267 feet from my house.  We can see in the winter when the trees are gone -- you can see his windows."
 
As part of his Septemeber bond condition, Church could not be closer than 1,500 Feet from the victims he admits he tried to lure.  But his October probation sentence for the guilty plea removed that clause.
 
Police think Church is a danger to his community.
 
"To me, a lure takes the extra step and goes beyond to almost be the hunter to go out looking for the prey, so to me, that's a major concern," East Alton Police Detective Sgt. Brian Archer says.
 
But his hands are bound by the law.
 
"Everything is not always the way we want it to be," Sgt. Archer says.  "Our goal is to protect and ensure the safety, and there are certain guidelines that we have to go by."
 
But here's the catch:
 
"There is a bus stop directly across the street here, which is less than 200 feet (from Church's house)," Marie says.
 
And that's a violation of the Illinois sex offender laws.  However, East Alton police say there are so many sex offenders living in their area that they're actually working with the city and schools to reroute buses, rather than evict offenders.
 
Michael Church's juvenile conviction has been kept hidden from the public.  Now, Marie and her husband are fighting to change the law in hopes of protecting other children.
 
--
Maggie Crane
KMOV Reporter
314.422.6783
mcrane@kmov.com
 

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