Sex offender staying in Wahpeton park angers parentsWahpeton, ND (WDAY TV) - Parents in the Wahpeton community are up in arms after finding out a high risk sex offender made his temporary home at a park where their children play.
By: Kay Cooley, WDAY
Wahpeton, ND (WDAY TV) - Parents in the Wahpeton community are up in arms after finding out a high risk sex offender made his temporary home at a park where their children play.
Twenty-eight year-old Aaron Bever was convicted back in 2003 of sexually assaulting a young girl hundreds of times. Bever has been living in the Wahpeton area since about 2005. He's bounced around from place to place, but one of his more recent stops is generating an outcry from concerned parents.
Ali Loberg and her daughter are changing their popular play spot after reading about Aaron Bever on Facebook.
Ali Loberg - Mom: "What he did to that little girl and how he was living in the park that my daughter and I go to quite a bit.
In 2003, Bever sexually assaulted a 6 year-old girl about 450 times while he was living in Wisconsin. In 2005, he moved to Wahpeton. His last known address was listed as the Langendorfer Shelter at Chahinkapa Park.
Ali Loberg: "Shocked that somebody could be that level of a sex offender and still be staying in a park that in close proximity to a child."
Kaja Kaste, mother of three, lives just two blocks away from the park, pool, and playground.
Kaja Kaste - Mom: "I just thought it was ridiculous that he was living at the shelter, especially right next to the playground where all the kids play."
According to police, Bever was kicked out of his mobile home and told them he was only staying at the park's shelter for two nights, but parents say that's two nights too many.
Ali Loberg: “It's still alarming that he was allowed to stay here because can he still come down here? Can he still linger down here?”
The answer, legally, is yes. So parents say, whether it’s two nights, or two hundred, it's still wrong.
Ali Loberg: “You know your kids are safe at school, but what happens when they have baseball practice or football games or go to the park with friends?”
Kaja Kaste: “I just feel like there should be more notification for someone like that. All of my children are under the age of 5 and it does include a little girl, and it just concerns me that myself, along with my neighbors, would have to worry even in our front yard because he's so close.”
Bever has since registered at a different address in town: 510 3rd Street South - but a "For Rent" sign in the front yard, says he could be moving again soon. We tried knocking but didn't have any luck.
Police say although they can't legally stop Bever from being at the park, they're watching his whereabouts closely.
Any sex offender can stay or be in a community park without breaking any laws, but, they're not allowed to use a state park as a registered address, or stay there overnight without notifying the park department. Laws prohibit them from being near schools, except to vote.
Sex offenders must also alert law enforcement every time they change addresses or locations, even if they're homeless, and they must tell police when they switch schools, occupations, or vehicles.
Scott Thorsteinson - Wahpeton Police Chief: “The reason it's important is because the public and legislators decided that it's important. They passed a law to try to protect people from predators and we're making sure that the people who are registered offenders are complying with those laws.”
Police say Bever was arrested back in March for failing to register as a sex offender, a class C felony. He still has to serve jail time for that charge.