Special Report: Tracking sex offenders in your neighborhood

Special Report: Tracking sex offenders in your neighborhood

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Yuma, AZ(13 On Your Side) - Are you living next door to a child predator? According to the public registry, there are hundreds of sex offenders who have been convicted and are living in our area.

But what about those, who victimize multiple children, before getting caught?

The bad news is  these predators are also out there and you may not even know it.

Wellton police recently arrested 20-year old Ronald Morgan after they say he molested a young girl inside of her bedroom.

The victim's mother told 13 On Your Side Morgan is a family member.

Three more victims have since come forward, but police fear there are more victims out there.

They believe Morgan started molesting children as far back as five years ago.

Police refer to child predators as the silent army because you don't know when they're going to attack and what they look like, until after a victim comes forward and they get arrested.

Police said in most cases the victim knows the predator and that thought alone puts fear in parents.

"It just doesn't feel safe," Yesenia Ramirez said.

Ramirez, a mother of a young boy with another one onthe way is shocked to learn there are 383 registered sex offenders living in Yuma County.

"It's really scary knowing that so many people are out there," Ramirez said.

It's possible a child predator could live in Ramirez's neighborhood.

"One is too many," Detective Miguel Sanchez of Yuma Police said.

Even Yuma Police Detective Miguel Sanchez admits to catch a child predator is tough police work.

"They're crafty and their cowards but they're crafty at what they do. They'll do anything to gain access," he said.

So how can you spot a child predator?

What do they look like?

"I call them the silent army because we don't know who they are," Sanchez said.

Sanchez said in most cases they're preying on innocent children right under our noses.

He said 95 percent of his cases are intra-familial, meaning the sexual predator is someone the child already knows.

"The sex offender relies a lot on misplaced trust," he said. "The biggest thing is not be in denial about that. That's the biggest thing and that's what the sex offenders relies on when he tries to gain access to our children."

Detective Sanchez said teaching kids about boundaries and the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching is more effective than teaching them about "stranger danger."

"It's not going to be more prisons or more laws or more police that's going to stop a sex offender," he said. "It's the fact to not be in denial the fact that they do exist."

For Ramirez, it's a safeguard she already takes to heart.

"I'm very careful on who i leave my kids with. If its not my mom, I don't leave them anywhere," she said.

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