SIERRA MADRE, Calif. (KABC) --Sierra Madre residents are on edge after learning a convicted sex offender has been back in the city for several months, living two blocks from a school.
Many parents are upset because they said they were not informed that the 60-year-old registered sex offender, who now goes by the name "Awest," had returned to Sierra Madre upon his release from federal prison in January.
Awest served eight years for child molestation. Police say he is living in a home on east Miramonte Avenue. The home is very close to St. Rita Catholic School, where students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade attend classes.
State law requires sex offenders to live more than 2,000 feet from schools. But because Awest was in a federal prison, police say they have no control over where he lives. However, he must obey strict parole regulations, authorities said.
"He can live in the residence but he cannot have a view of any school, park, playground, anything where kids are," said Sierra Madre Police Chief Larry Gianonne, adding that Awest cannot loiter within 100 feet of schools.
Awest was known as Andrew West Reid when he was convicted of two felony counts after his arrest in 2006. According to court records, he sexually molested a 6-year-old girl and took nude photos of her. He pleaded no contest to committing lewd acts on a child. Prosecutors say the victim, who was a former student at St. Rita's, was a friend of Awest's daughter, who was also 6 at the time.
He was required to register with police after returning home. His presence in the small community is raising a lot of concern. Residents sounded off at a town hall meeting Wednesday.
"It's scary, and frustrating and disappointing that we can't do anything about it," said Toni Moran, whose grandchildren live next door to Awest.
Police say they are increasing patrols in the neighborhood where Awest lives.