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The number of sex offenders living near Denver schools will shock you

Posted: 10:11 PM, Mar 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-21 04:55:34Z
Sex offenders fearing eviction sue Englewood

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at contact7@thedenverchannel.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.

DENVER -- A local realtor says he was "particularly surprised" when he learned sex offenders were living near Denver elementary schools, so he reached out to Contact7 asking why there were no restrictions.

Contact7 found there are 231 elementary schools within the Denver Public Schools system, and 90 percent of them had a registered sex offender living within a half-mile radius.

That number may shock you as most people believe there are laws to protect children from coming into close contact with registered sex offenders.

"I used to live somewhere that I got in the mail that there was a sex offender that lived near me, and that was unsettling. I can only imagine if I had children and got that same type of piece of mail," Diane Capuano said.

This is an issue Colorado communities struggled with for years. The turning point came in 2013, when a judge ruled against the City of Englewood arguing that restricting sex offenders from living within a certain distance of schools, daycare facilities and parks left them with no place to live.

The case was brought up by the ACLU who argued such laws give residents a "false sense of security."

The ruling prevents all Colorado communities from enforcing such housing limitations.

A 2013 study found communities with strict housing laws for sex offenders lead to them ending up homeless and less likely to register.

Some people we spoke with, no matter how uncomfortable they are with the idea, agree with the study.

"I've made house buying decisions based on who was in the neighborhood, but I think they can go anywhere and so I don't think we need another law to prevent them from living close to schools," Ann Moran told Contact7.