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Clayton County bus stop in front of convicted sex offender

By Greg Gelpi

Every day Clayton County school kids are picked up and dropped off at a bus stop at the doorstep of a convicted child molester.

A spokesman for the school system said it still might take a couple of weeks to change the stop now that parents have complained.

"That's like waving candy in front of a baby and saying lookie, lookie," said LaTonya Jackson, whose 14-year-old daughter Sharita Jackson catches the bus there. "I just don't feel comfortable knowing that my daughter has to go up that hill out of my sight."

A Clayton County school bus picks up and drops off students from Edmonds Elementary, Forest Park Middle and Forest Park High schools across the street from the home of convicted child molester Samuel Hopkins Williams.

Tammy Williams lives across the street and said that "sometimes he just sits and watches and watches."

She has lived across from him for 12 years, she said, adding that she won't let her 6-year-old daughter play outside alone.

"I have a couple of friends in the neighborhood who take their children to school because a sex offender lives in the neighborhood," she said.

She said that Williams' truck isn't usually home when the school bus drops off children, but that he is home and at times outside watching when the children are picked up in the morning.

"A child molester at a bus stop?" Jackson asked. "Couldn't they put it somewhere else? I was outraged."

There's a reason that he is registered as a sex offender, she said.

Although, Williams is on the GBI registered sex offender list, Charles White, a spokesman for Clayton County schools, said his name didn't appear when the school system conducted an Internet search a year ago, the last time the system searched for registered sex offenders.

"We already realize that that's not appropriate practice," White said. "We're going to revise the process to make it a more frequent check."

The school system also plans to relocate the bus stop, a change that should be completed within a week of students' return from spring break.

"The stop, to my knowledge, has been there for some time," White said.

The situation troubles Clayton County Juvenile Court Judge Steve Teske, who previously served as the deputy director of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles. In that position, he oversaw treatment of sex offenders.

"The mere fact that a sex offender has the daily opportunity to be around kids could trigger something," Teske said. "If you're going on a diet to reduce your weight, you don't go to the all-you-can-eat buffet, and if you're a sex offender you don't put a bus stop in front of your house."

There's a distinction between a sex offender and a pedophile, he said, explaining that a pedophile is much more likely to re-offend.

"I may know all that stuff as a judge, but I don't want you around my children," Teske said. "I will tell you as a juvenile judge and as a parent, if you're a sex offender I don't want you around my child...I would be concerned. I am concerned."

Williams couldn't be reached for comment.

According to the GBI Web site, he was convicted in 1990 for child molestation, although no specifics are given. He registered as a sex offender in 1999.

Searches for the state's registered sex offenders can be conducted on the GBI Web site.