State police: Sex offender listing park as home an ‘enhancement’

Posted: August 21, 2012

A state police spokesman said the fact that a sexually violent predator was able to register his address as a suburban community park is "an enhancement to public safety."

Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood was furious when his department received notice last week that Steven Sherlock, 30, a violent sexual predator, had listed his address as Naylor's Run Park, an Upper Darby community park popular with children.

Lt. Todd Harman, commander of the Megan's Law division of the state police, said a law passed in February requires homeless sexual offenders in Pennsylvania to list a location where they frequent if they don't have an address. They also must check in with police every 30 days.

"They've always existed but we didn't have a location for them," Harman said. "If he were to move under the bridge down the road he'd have to list the Market Street Bridge as his address."

Harman said only offenders who first identify themselves as homeless may identify their address as a public space.

"Nobody from the state police told him he could live there, it's just where he lives," Harman said. "What needs to happen is if there are local ordinances, the local police have to enforce them."

Chitwood said no one is allowed in Naylor's Run Park after dark and if his officers will arrest Sherlock if they spot him there after sunset.

"I wonder if whoever put this law in place would want this guy in a park where their kids play?" Chitwood said.

Of the 12,000 sexual offenders required to register under Megan's Law in Pennsylvania, 35 identify themselves as homeless, Harman said.

Of those 35, six live in Philadelphia. Despite the new requirements, Harman could not immediately detail the location of the six homeless offenders in Philadelphia.

Contact Stephanie Farr at farrs@phillynews.com or 215-854-4225. Follow her on Twitter @FarFarrAway. Read her blog at philly.com/dailydelco.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|