Child sex offender arrested after visit to high school

License scan screens man in Annapolis

August 30, 2007|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,Sun reporter

A 22-year-old child sex offender who entered Annapolis High School was arrested after being flagged by a computer scan of his driver's license, Anne Arundel County police said yesterday.

Torrence Ramone Davis, convicted in 2005 of having sex with a 13-year-old and recently ordered to stay away from a 15-year-old girl, told school officials Tuesday that he was there to drive home a relative, police said. The student's mother told police that he was a family friend whom she had sent to pick up the 17-year-old girl.

Davis left the school without her after the school's search of the national registry of sex offenders brought up his name, and he was arrested Tuesday night at his Annapolis home on trespassing charges.

He could face additional charges related to his status as a sex offender, said Cpl. Mark Shawkey, a county police spokesman.

He is the second sex offender intercepted at a county school's main office since the district bought the software last year to track visitors, said Bob Yatsuk, a project manager for the Anne Arundel school system's security unit. Anne Arundel and Harford counties use the software, part of a trend of schools nationwide that are tightening visitor policies.

The first match was on April 24, when a contractor working at Meade High School was found to be a sex offender from Baltimore City. More than 19,000 visitors to Anne Arundel schools have been checked through Raptor Technologies' V*Soft system, which is used by thousands of schools across the country.

In Harford, the search checks the list of sex offenders who live in the county as well as a custom list provided by the state's attorney's Child Advocacy Center, which includes issues such as custody disputes, said Robert A. Benedetto Sr., the school system's coordinator of safety and security.

"The nice thing about it is, everybody that comes through has to have a photo ID - it's standardized," Benedetto said. "If somebody's out of the ordinary, they can't slide by saying, `Hi, my name's Bob.'"

As a sex offender, Davis is banned from school property without written permission from school officials, and he has been asked several times to stay away from Annapolis High School, where Tuesday was the first day of classes for students in grades 10 to 12, authorities said.

Yvette Williams, the mother of the 17-year-old student, appeared at Davis' bail review hearing at Annapolis District Court yesterday and said she has known Davis for years and considers him a son. Having recently suffered a stroke and feeling ill, Williams asked Davis if he could pick up her daughter, LaKyra.

"Since I've known him, there's never been any problems, never," said Williams, who said she was aware of Davis' legal troubles but was not concerned.

At the hearing, however, prosecutors said Davis poses a "significant threat to the safety of any girl under age 18," and he was held on $250,000 bond.

Davis, who appeared at the hearing via video, was unable to address the charges but said he is "just trying to live my life. I just want to go to work, take care of my children and live my life."

Facing charges of second-degree rape, Davis pleaded guilty in 2005 to a fourth-degree sex offense. Charging documents show he was accused of having sex several times with a 13-year-old sister of one of his friends. He was ordered to serve three years' supervised probation.

In May of this year, a Glen Burnie mother and father contacted police saying their 15-year-old daughter had been having a relationship with Davis for a year. According to a request for summons filed by Davis' probation officer, the girl said she and Davis had had sex "about five times."

The girl's parents said Davis was a family friend, and they did not want him to get in trouble. Instead, they filed a peace order requiring Davis to stay away from the girl, and police closed the case, records show.

Shawkey said he did not know the specifics of the case but added that police and prosecutors consult before deciding against bringing charges.

This month, the parents notified police, saying Davis had contacted the girl, and a bench warrant was issued for failing to comply with the peace order. He was picked up Aug. 16 on two outstanding warrants, and the next day posted bond and was released.

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