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Hundreds of sex offenders living near public pools in Idaho Falls

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Jul 03 2013 07:46:40 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 03 2013 10:20:50 PM CDT

There are more than 100 registered sex offenders living within a one-mile radius of the Idaho Falls Aquatics Center.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

As the temperatures continue to rise, many children are flocking to local pools to beat the heat; but how close are they swimming to sex offenders?

The Idaho Falls Aquatic Center is a hub for kids looking to play in the water; but there are more than 100 registered sex offenders living within a one-mile radius of the pool.

"I got online and I did the search to see how many number of sex offenders were in the neighborhood, and I was shocked at the number," said Jenny Everett-Koelsch, a local mom.

Mother of two, Jenny Everett-Koelsch, said she's aware of the dangers and takes extra precautions.

"I always am in attendance with them and today I brought my babysitter with me so we'd have two pairs of eyes on the kids," said Everett-Koelsch.  

A look at the state's sex offender registry brought up 111 registered sex offenders living within a one-mile radius of the aquatic center. Widen the search to a five-mile radius around the pool, and more than 200 registered sex offenders pop up. 

Digging deeper, Local News 8 found only around 40 were charged with sex crimes involving minors.

"111 (sex offenders) within a mile of the aquatic center, really does not come as a surprise to me," said Sgt. Jeff Edwards with the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office.   

But it's not just Idaho Falls.

In Rexburg, there are 8 sex offenders living within a mile of both Rexburg Rapids and the splash park and 18 within 5 miles.

Police say the best defense is communicating with your children and just being aware.

"It takes a parent to be responsible for your child and know where they're at and what they're doing at all times; and that absolute ability for that child to contact you if they have an issue and you're not directly with them," said Edwards.

It's not against the law for sex offenders to live near places children frequent, unless it's a school or a daycare.

Officers said it's best to know your surroundings and to use the registry as a tool; but it doesn't take into account the offenders listed as "homeless" or registered as living out of state, but working in Idaho.

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