Parents share concerns after sex offender arrested at public pool

Fox 24

PRAIRIE GROVE, Ark. (KFTA) — A convicted sex offender is back in jail after being caught at a public pool in Prairie Grove.

Michael Grant, 40, a high level sex offender, was arrested during the July 4th weekend after he was recognized at the Prairie Grove Aquatic Park.

Police said there were around 900 people in the water park when they arrested him.

Grant reportedly told officers he knew better than to be there, but was just trying to do something nice for his kids.

He’s being held at the Washington County Detention Center in lieu of a $3,500 bond.

His arrest has raised concerns about how sex offenders are tracked, and how often they’re legally allowed to be near kids.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office monitors more than 200 sex offenders across the county. That does not include city jurisdictions of Fayetteville, Springdale and Elkins.

The sheriff’s office uses a special software system to keep the most up-to-date information on their whereabouts, but occasionally, registered sex offenders are reported in places they should not be.

“It’s kind of crazy, because we live real close,” said Candace Kenyon, a mother of four visiting the aquatic center. “There are kids coming and going here all the time, so that makes me a tad bit nervous.”

Detective Andrew Morris with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said level 3 offenders, including Grant, are not allowed at public parks, daycares, or swim areas. He also can’t t live within 2,000 feet of those places.

“Any changes that they have, if they get a new job or if they are moving…they have to come in person and change all their information and sign their information again,” he said.

In addition to home checks, level 1, 2, and 3 offenders are required to report to the sheriff’s office every seven months to update their information.

Level 4 offenders must report to authorities every three months.

Morris added, “For most sex offenders, the only child they can’t be around is if the victim was a child. The victim is who they can’t be around. Aside from that, there’s not a limitation of being around children.”

While detectives do their part, it’s impossible to know where everyone is at one time, Morris explained.

“We check everything thoroughly through, we make sure the offenders are doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Morris said. “We can’t track their every move. We don’t have trackers or anything like that, a lot of it is just on the public. They let us know.”

Kenyon said she’s thankful officers reacted quickly to Grant’s whereabouts.

“I’m super thankful for our police officers because they are amazing and they do respond really quickly, so that’s a bonus. We have an awesome team,” Kenyon said.

Grant is scheduled to appear July 31 in Washington County Circuit Court.

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