Kingsland residents push back against registered sex offenders

Residents in the Skyline subdivision in Kingsland received a flyer alerting them about the most recent registered sex offender who has moved into their neighborhood. Courtesy photo

Residents in the Skyline subdivision in Kingsland received a flyer alerting them about the most recent registered sex offender who has moved into their neighborhood. Courtesy photo

CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER

KINGSLAND — Residents of a Kingsland neighborhood say they are organizing efforts to protect children as they report an influx of registered sex offenders moving into the unincorporated community.

The latest concern involves 31-year-old Arthur Rico Hernandez, who was required by law to register his residence in the 700 block of Anson Street with the Llano County Sheriff’s Office.

In January, deputies distributed flyers to nearby residents to inform them of their new neighbor.

“My concern is these kids standing out here on the bus stop, and he’s got a bus stop right down the street from where he lives,” said Dave Oxford, a father and grandfather who received one of the flyers. “Every kid on this block has a picture of this guy. If we have little kids running around in fear, that’s wrong.”

Melanie Graninger lives four blocks away.

She added, “When I first moved here, there was one other house on my road, and now it’s nothing but druggies and sex offenders. It went downhill fast.”

According to Hays County court documents, in December 2007, a then-21-year-old Hernandez was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child, a 15-year-old girl.

The terms of Hernandez’ parole require him to register as a sex offender for life. He is also identified as “high risk,” according to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s sex offender registry site.

He currently resides with family on Anson Street just off Skyline Drive.

Residents in the Skyline subdivision in Kingsland received a flyer alerting them about the most recent registered sex offender who has moved into their neighborhood. Courtesy photo
Residents in the Skyline subdivision in Kingsland received a flyer alerting them about the most recent registered sex offender who has moved into their neighborhood. Courtesy photo

“I see people walking and looking because I’m pretty sure they got the postcard in the mail,” Hernandez said. “They’re kind of shocked. I’m not a strange person. I’m just trying to start over with my life.”

Hernandez joined approximately 16 registered sex offenders in the Skyline subdivision, according to state records.

“We’re going to be doing periodic checks on Mr. Hernandez to make sure he’s in compliance with his sex offender registration in Llano County,” Llano County Chief Deputy John Neff said. “We’ve got well over 60 to 65 registered sex offenders in the unincorporated parts of Llano County.

“We’ve got a wider area and a larger population in the unincorporated area,” he added. “Kingsland is such a large and highly populated area, and it’s unincorporated relative to the rest of the county.”

Unlike counties, municipalities such as Burnet, Marble Falls, and Granite Shoals have enacted codes that limit how close registered sex offenders can live near schools, parks, playgrounds, and other places where children congregate.

The laws have created overlapping boundaries that prove challenging for registered sex offenders in finding housing within the city limits.

Since the 1990s, Kingsland residents have voted on and failed to pass at least two efforts to incorporate, lacking the body to enact such laws.

“Granted, nobody wants to pay more taxes, but if that’s what it takes to protect our neighborhoods, then maybe that’s something we should consider,” Oxford said. “Maybe it’s time we change for our children’s sake. What’s better for us: the tax loss (of becoming a city) or increased number of pedophiles?”

To monitor their whereabouts, LCSO collects data such as proof of address, vehicles, email addresses, and social media activity from the registrants.

“There are no (county) laws about where they live just so long as they register with us and report to us,” Neff said of check-ins, which can be monthly, quarterly, or annually. “Most of them comply, but it’s not uncommon for us to issue warrants for non-compliance for the sex offender registration laws.”

Law enforcement relies on residents to offer information if they believe laws have been broken but dissuades them from creating a potentially volatile situation.

“It would be ill-advised for someone to take the law into their own hands and retaliate against somebody unlawfully,” Neff said. “If, for some reason, (the neighbors) don’t think (the registered sex offender is) in compliance, then they should report that to the Llano County Sheriff’s Office.”

Hernandez said he wants to find a job and raise his two stepsons — ages 10 and 12 — with his wife, Elena DeLeon.

“My wife sticks by my side. She don’t judge me,” he said. “My family don’t judge me. They know what kind of person I am to children. I would never hurt a child, nothing like that.”

He said he has faced such scrutiny in the past.

“When I was staying in San Marcos with my wife over there, we had to move out of apartments over there because the manager was saying a lot of people was coming up to her (about my situation). About 10 people came to the office,” Hernandez said.

He added he connects his current situation to his past actions.

“I was in a position I should have never put myself in,” he said. “Right now, it’s like I’m under the hole, trying to dig myself out.”

He offered reassurances to his neighbors.

“Just tell the neighbors not to be concerned. I’m a very nice guy. I know they’re shocked,” Hernandez said. “I know they’re upset because they have children, but I’m not the kind of guy that will get down like that. … I’m not out here to hurt anyone.”

Hernandez’ words provided little solace for nearby residents.

“Take your kids to the bus stop,” Graninger advised others. “Don’t let them ride their bikes by themselves. Don’t let them out of your sight.”

connie@thepicayune.com

6 thoughts on “Kingsland residents push back against registered sex offenders

  1. Everyone is looking at this issue all wrong. 97% of sex crimes are committed by people NOT on the registry. In most states, recidivism is only 3-5%. A child is at greater risk from an uncle, step dad, cousin, baby sitter, teacher, coach, neighbor or close family acquaintance than a stranger.

    I’d sooner trust the devil I know.

  2. If people want to protect children, then they need to realize this: 95% of new sex crimes are not committed by sex offenders, but by people trusted in the community with no criminal record (“Does A Watched Pot Boil? A Time-Series Analysis of New York State’s Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Law”, Sandler, Freeman, and Socia, 2008 DOI: 10.1037/a0013881). Guarding against sex offenders will inevitably enable more child sexual abuse by distracting people from the real threats. These deputies are not improving public safety, they are needlessly scaring people.

    TNF 13
    Advocate for the Primary Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

  3. Folks, I completely understand the desire to protect children as I have a young child of my own. There are individuals out there who would try to do harm to children (or people of all ages), so good judgment is absolutely warranted. However, I would also encourage people to allow those who have made mistakes to have a second chance. How do you know who is genuinely trying and who isn’t? Tough to say, but if we are so quick to judge so as to say that people cannot change, are we truly doing justice to our society as a whole? We can give grace cautiously, but to not give grace at all is just sad.

  4. This seems to be more of a push by Llano County to get Kingsland to incorporate than anything else. Just some tidbits about proximity to schools, parks, playgrounds, etc. How many of those are there in Kingsland? One school, a couple of parks? What is considered a playground? The bottom line is: When you can’t get something passed, use children as your excuse! It seems to work every time without voters even realizing they are being duped. Here are the ratios of number of residents to number of sex offenders:

    Horseshoe Bay: 839
    Cottonwood Shores: 563
    Marble Falls: 305
    Granite Shoals: 290
    Burnet: 202
    Llano: 180
    Kingsland: 163
    Buchanan Dam: 152

    As you can see, it seems the incorporated areas have many more sex offenders than the unincorporated areas.

  5. Excuse my ignorance! However, I will say that Kingsland is not too far off from the larger incorporated areas.

  6. Shelly your ignorance is bliss you need to check your numbers. on the TXDPS website look how many do not ha a current picture.The article “16 live off of skyline”! Kingsland is full of drugs,gangs, sex offenders and crime.Take off the blinders and look around!

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