‘What does he look like?’

Parents fear sex offender’s East Freo release

PARENTS of children attending schools and day care in East Fremantle are upset authorities did not tell them a serial sex offender had been moved into the town after his release from prison.

The first they knew of paedophile Edward William Latimer’s relocation was when they read about it in the Herald (“We are ‘adequately protected’: judge,” Herald, July 5, 2014).

They want to know, “who this person is and what he looks like”. Latimer was the first person to be gaoled indefinitely under WA’s dangerous sexual offenders act.
The Herald understands Latimer may have been moved in the past couple of weeks, but police would not confirm or deny this yesterday.
Principals contacted by the Herald said the first they heard of his release and relocation was when concerned parents started asking questions about the safety of their children.

St Patrick’s primary school principal John Ryan was made aware of Latimer’s move into Alexandra Road by a parent who approached him Monday.

“I did say to the parent that being in Fremantle you get to see people from all walks of life,” he said, adding he didn’t want to downplay the seriousness of parents’ concerns.

“Kids here are pretty clued in because of our circumstances. I have also spoken to staff.”

One parent with two children at St Patrick’s contacted the Herald to say he couldn’t believe authorities would house a convicted sex offender without alerting the community.

Anonymous callers and emails sent to the Herald also expressed disgust at the decision to plot Latimer in East Fremantle, “as it is located between numerous schools and so is not adequate to be living there”.

East Fremantle primary school principal Jenny Chittock said she too was unaware of Latimer’s presence in the area. The released man’s unit is about 1km from the school.

A spokesperson at Little People’s Place daycare on Canning Highway also was unaware of Latimer’s presence, as was principal Lisa Dentith of nearby Richmond primary school on Osborne Road, a street over from Latimer’s Alexandra Road address.

While she was concerned, she said “it’s not my business” but parents who spoke to the Herald Wednesday disagreed, saying the school had a duty of care to let staff and parents know.

“How did this happen? Is there a picture of him on the web?” one concerned mother asked. “My children play at this park all the time.”

Nearby State Swim attracts about 1300 people a week to its Canning Highway facility near Staton Road. It too was unaware Latimer had moved in but spokesman Di Palmer says parents had not raised concerns.

“We don’t allow random people to just walk in. We have a private carpark and facilities that are monitored. As a parent I would want to know.”

A spokesperson from the WA education department said: “No-one can be told about a registered sex offender or inform the community about them. WA Police and the department of corrective services do not give this information out to any member of the public.”

Under a strict five-year supervision order Latimer must live within 15 minutes of Fremantle police station, wear electronic monitors and submit regular blood and urine samples.

In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled the 48-year-old paedophile should be gaoled indefinitely because he posed an ongoing danger to the community. His crimes include aggravated sexual penetration and attempted rape.

by CARMELO AMALFI

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