Parents allege registered sex offender was at local park, taking photos

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TRAVELERS REST, S.C. (WSPA) — Parents are speaking out after a situation at a local park left them disturbed. Two women say a man on the sex offender registry was at the park in Travelers Rest taking photos of children.

Jennifer Waldrop says she was recently at Poinsett Park with her daughter and granddaughter when she noticed something strange.

“When I came in there was a car sitting there with a male inside alone and I just kind of made myself aware of that,” said Waldrop.

She quickly became uncomfortable.

“He was trying to photograph or video my granddaughter, she’s six,” said Waldrop.

And she wasn’t the only one who noticed.

“I looked around the surroundings for my kids and I noticed he was by himself,” said Paula Bobola.

Bobola was also at the park and says she noticed similar things.

“My daughter would skate by him and he would just watch her and shake his head yes every time she passed,” said Bobola.

Waldrop says she matched the man to a person on the sex offender registry and took action.

“So I called the police thinking that he is not supposed to be in an area that is designed for children,” said Waldrop.

Bobola did the same. But when the police came.

“The cops told us there was nothing we could do. As long as he didn’t get out of the car there was nothing they could do,” said Bobola.

Waldrop raised the issue at a community meeting this past weekend.

“I just don’t see a purpose for them being in a place where children gather I just don’t see it,” said Waldrop.

Greenville County Councilman Joe Dill was at the meeting and says he was surprised that someone on the registry could be so close to a playground. He urges anyone who feels the same to take action.

“If they find that the laws are not stringent enough then they need to talk to their people in the general assembly and their senators and house members about changing the laws,” said Dill.

That’s exactly why Bobola and Waldrop are speaking out.

“Knowing he was not even a car length away from me just watching my daughter really upset me,” Bobola said.

“Ask for a zone of protection against offenders, predators particularly for the safety of our children,” Waldrop said.

State sex offender conditions say those on the registry can’t be within a thousand feet of a playground.

A local attorney says even if someone serves their time and completes their parole, they still need to abide by those rules unless a judge takes them off the registry.

7News is still working to get answers from state agencies.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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