Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"The Creeper"

I can't believe that i have never written about this before- I guess watching the news lately made me think of it again. Some of you readers may already know this story, but for those of you who do not - Please take this as a little "lesson learned" that you should always be very aware of your surroundings and that you can never be too careful....

So anyways, this story goes back 2 years to when Pat and I moved into our very lovely apartment in Ohio. We looked and looked and looked for a nice apartment which was surprisingly hard to find. Nonetheless, we did find a really nice community that was part of a country club and larger neighborhood that had really gorgeous houses in it. Most people in the development were older and owned their units so it seemed like a nice safe place to live.

When we got settled in, a few of our neighbors kept telling us how "we have to meet the young couple across the hall from us".....the girl had my same name and they were our same age so it sounded promising. I did end up running into the guy in the hall one day and although he was a little nerdy he seemed "nice." He was this huge guy( like 6' 7")...and every time I was coming or going from the apartment he seemed to be leaving for the gym. Even when i would come home at noon to eat my lunch he was always in his car sort of waiting to walk in and have a conversation with me.

Our little meetings got to be too ironic and so Pat and I started to call him "the creeper" and Pat was pretty insistent that I just avoid him at all costs. Something that -lets be honest -is pretty hard to do with a clingy neighbor unless you completely resign yourself to being a giant biotch and walking past him when he speaks to you (all the time). I hate to say it - but even though he weirded me out, I was nice to him because i didn't want to be mean.

Another weird layer to "the creeper" was his mystery wife. I had met her once and she invited us to go to the movies with them. We declined and then I never saw her again. Months went by without any other appearances from her - despite the fact that the creeper would often talk about her like she actually lived there. Pat and I decided that he had probably killed her and put her body into the scary storage area that was in the garage. I know that isn't anything we should have joked about, but it was just too weird......THEN the very next day after we had had that conversation inside of our apartment behind many layers of drywall and insulation - The creeper (once again magically "running into me" in the hall) told me " I know you think i killed my wife - ha ha"......i nervously laughed it off - but then began to think that he had one of those creepy listening devices that went through walls that you see advertised on infomercials....and the scary part was he probably did.

So fast forward a few more months when Pat and I were eagerly house hunting. We had found a great house in a nice neighborhood and I was telling my boss all about it. He asked about the school system in that area and I realized I knew nothing about it. Well, during my google search I came across a link to the national sex offender registry. see where this is going right??? SO i entered in the address of the prospective house we were looking at and it was totally in the clear. Then i casually entered in my California house (safe), my sisters houses, our rental property in florida, my parents house, and then my current address in the apartment complex (in the country club, near daycares, and lots of children playing in their gigantic backyards).....and you guessed it - There was a big RED DOT right in my hood. I clicked on it for more information and much to my horror it was the unit directly across the hall. The creeper - was actually 100% a real life creeper. No more joking.

He went to jail for 2 years for soliciting a minor online. He had gotten out a while before we moved in, but I genuinely do not think that anyone else in that complex knew about his past. It pretty much scared me to pieces when his picture showed up on my screen. How the hell did we end up living next door to a pedophile - and how was he so under the radar that no one knew? I felt like i should have been notified - and i really struggled with whether or not i should out him to all of the neighbors.

Before this, I really only pictured sex offenders living in slummy gross areas. I was so mad because I just felt like he absolutely did not deserve to live amongst normal people like myself. In my mind he shouldn't have been out of jail....and it was sort of embarrassing in this weird way that he had made the same living arrangements that we had.

If we had any kids I know we would have moved out that second, but because we didn't and because we knew we were moving, we stayed put a few more months. He actually moved out before we did - his wife finally divorced him and kicked him out, but he definitely knew that we knew and pretty much stopped talking to me thank God.

I did a scary amount of research on him and actually even contacted his parole officer to find out more about the actual case. When he got caught - there wasn't an actual victim. The minor he solicited online was actually an undercover cop and I pray to God that this was his only offense, however it seems hard to believe. Regardless, I followed him online to see where he moved - and just as you guessed it - It was another nice-ish neighborhood where tons of families live.I urge anyone to check out this registry if you haven't already. It is unbelievable to see how many offenders there are and to know that you are not sheltered from them by living in a nice family friendly area. This guy was 27, went to college, had a very pretty and successful wife, he drove a nice car and was absolutely not who I had pictured to be a sex offender.

Be safe and check it out today if you have not done it already.


Ashley @ KiwisandCocktails said...

I would have been scared to death from the part where he was always waiting for you!
Last year when we were buying our house, my friend realized that a child sex offender lived in her apt. buidling where she lived with her husband AND TWO KIDS. I would not say the building was THAT nice...but it was in a maybe it was ok..but the area was a good location. Well, she wanted out of the contract ASAP and put out FLIERS to the other people who had kids in the builidng which were a lot. Oh, she did the flyer thing AFTER the landlord let them out of the lease. THey moved...but she was furious that they were not notified since they had small kids living a few doors down from a Pedofile. I checked my area. Only one in our town...and not near me! :)I did drive by the houes though because I am nosy.

Jenny DB said...

Miss Ashley emailed me this link today because I had a similar (well not THAT similar but kinda) experience... we were looking for a new house and I happened to look at the registry and VOILA. NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR. anywayyy we did not get that house but i actually have searched tons of places on the registry now and it's crazy how many there are. i live in downtown seattle and there are almost 100 in 5 square blocks around my apartment (in the swanky part of towN!!) these people are mostly homeless tho cuz in seattle you really cant find much housing if you're a registered sex offender, you're required to disclose.

anyway, here's my post i wrote about our "creeper"

and you have a new follower! :)

Brian and Katie said...

AHHHHHHH - Do you remember how "the Creeper" emailed me to look at my condo?!!

Anonymous said...

You are such a snot and so sheltered from the real world.

Christi Ferguson said...

OMG... First of all Katie... let me just tell you, I get excited every time you update your blog because you thoroughly entertain me. Second of all, how COOL that you got a hate post! Do you know how many people that means ACTUALLY read your blog!?! And seriously... hating on the fact that you don't want to canoodle with pedofiles?! I loved your rebuttle post and I know so many people who absolutely love your blog. It's hysterical when people hate a person so much, yet continue to read all about their life. If your so offended anonymous... move on. Or at least have the juevos to not be anonymous. If anything, you're the one "sheltering" yourself.

Saralala said...

oh my gosh! that is the scariest thing in the world! i can't believe you had the guts to stay in your apartment! i've gotta check out that registry.

Emily Heizer Photography said...

Megan's Law was great in that it enables citizens nation-wide to really know the "risk factor" of those around them...

That said, most pedophilles, statistcally are middle class white men in their 20's. The guy fits the profile to a 'T' and it doesn't surprise me at all. Of course a pedophille would aim to live in a nice neighborhood with lots of families- 1.) Because there are lots of potential victims to stare at, and 2.) Because they blend in.

Statisically you are more likely to be a victim of a crime- particular a sex crime with a perpetrator you know. Date rapes, molestations- it's much more likely to be your neighbor or your grandpa than some scary guy in a back alley.

I was attacked in elementry school-by a guy at church camp. Really, it's the people you think you know that can potentially hurt you the most.

Katie OB said...

Emily - you are totally right. That was the point that i was trying to make in my post, however you said it in a much more eloquent and fact-based way.

I am so beyond sorry to hear that this happened to you.
I reazlly appreciate your insight.