Sheriff meets with SJ parents about sex offender volunteer

The Santa Clara County Sheriff met with parents of a San Jose school where a convicted sex offender was caught volunteering.
November 27, 2012 7:48:04 PM PST
The Santa Clara County Sheriff met with parents at a San Jose school where it was discovered a registered sex offender was allowed to volunteer on campus. Parents want to make sure this never happens again anywhere.

The meeting started at 2 p.m. and continued until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, to give parents the opportunity to ask the sheriff questions and raise concerns about their children's safety. An investigation is still underway to determine whether anyone knew that a school volunteer was a registered sex offender.

Sheriff Laurie Smith had hoped the meeting would be open to the public and media, but school officials didn't agree. So the sheriff spoke to us before the meeting about what she hoped to accomplish.

"We brought flyers, we brought maps, we brought information on the Internet, we brought information about child offenders, but I want the parents to set the tone. I want the parents to tell me what they're looking for from us," said Smith.

Detectives from a 12-county sex offender task force brought along a map, showing where registered sex offenders live within one mile of St. Francis Cabrini School, represented by a blue square. The map is one of the resources available online to parents because of Megan's Law.

"We have about 4,000 registered sex offenders in this county, and they're in virtually every neighborhood," said Smith.

Someone at the school last month allowed 51-year-old Mark Gurries, a convicted child molester, to volunteer at a fund-raising event.

The bishop of the San Jose Diocese has said this will never happen again. The popular parish priest has left.

Cindy Gajewski has three children at St. Francis Cabrini -- ages 5, 7 and 9.

"Everybody's going to work together now, and we're a strong community, and we're all going to be looking out for each other, which is what has always happened. There's no concerns for me," said Gajewski.

Parents didn't know about a convicted child molester being on the campus until a former student recognized him and went online to confirm his identity.


Load Comments