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Van Nuys elementary school was site of visit by alleged sex offender volunteering at polls

Mike Szymanski | November 29, 2017

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A man volunteering as a poll worker at a Van Nuys elementary school was a registered sex offender, according to a report this week.

Although the election activity provided limited access to any students, LA Unified confirmed Wednesday that the district was notified of the potential violation and no incident occurred nor arrests made.

But freelance reporter Daniel Guss, of The Guss Report, wrote Monday on CityWatch that he is concerned that a new law signed last month by Gov. Jerry Brown will soon allow some sex offenders in California to avoid registering for life on the Megan’s Law website.

Without naming the school, Guss wrote that a registered sex offender “with a years-old aggravated felony for lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14” entered the school auditorium unaccompanied and unloaded voter equipment. LA Unified doesn’t allow a registered sex offender on any campus unless he or she is the parent or guardian of a student at the school and has school-related business.

Guss notified the principal, the LAPD investigated and spoke to the sex offender as well as the principal, and no arrests occurred.

An LA Unified spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that about a week after the election, the principal of Kittridge Street Elementary School in Van Nuys received a call from someone identifying himself as a reporter.

The caller stated he believed a poll worker may have been a registered sex offender,” according to the LA Unified statement, but Guss said he confirmed that the poll worker, who was recorded on video, was indeed a registered sex offender before he called the principal.

“To date, LA Unified has no information about the identity of the alleged sex offender, nor was it confirmed that a registered sex offender was, in fact, on campus. Therefore, the District was not able to confirm the individual’s status as a registered sex offender through law enforcement or through the Megan’s Law website,” according to the district statement.

“Notwithstanding the lack of information, Local District Operations was notified about the information provided by the reporter,” added the district’s statement.

The Title 1 school, established in 1957, has 850 students in kindergarten through fifth-grade and is predominantly Latino. It is in District 3, represented by Scott Schmerelson. According to the Megan’s Law website, 43 registered sex offenders live within a mile of the school.

Community organizations can use LA Unified school property according to their Civic Center Permits during non-school hours or when fewer students are on campus.

“For the polling activity at Kittridge School in May, the activity was held in the auditorium, which was accessible by the public from the street, with limited access by students on campus,” according to the district.

But Guss warned of a potential failure among several governmental agencies, writing: “In this instance, pay less attention to the sex offender in question, and more to the slew of government agencies that either didn’t know what was going on or have turned a blind eye to it and have collectively failed to inform one specific Los Angeles community about the matter.”

Guss said he told the principal and school district officials that there is video and photographic evidence of the man walking unaccompanied through the school’s front entrance and the auditorium. He has requested a closed-door interview with the school board but has not received a response.

Read the CityWatch story here. Registered sex offenders are listed by neighborhood at the Megan’s Law California website.

* This article has been updated to clarify actions by Daniel Guss and adds his request to meet with the school board.

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