A registered sex offender was arrested for exposing himself to a woman and children near a daycare in West Haven on Thursday afternoon.
Police charged 46-year-old Lawrence Kelly with public indecency, risk of injury to a child, and breach of peace.
Kelly's arrest comes after police said they received a complaint of man exposing himself near a daycare on Admiral Street around 2:45 p.m.
Residents in the area are outraged after learning that a convicted sex offender lived so close to the daycare.
"He has clear view of the children. The only thing he was looking at was me and the children," said Marilyn Velazquez, who owns the daycare and was outside on Thursday with four children when Kelly exposed himself to her.
"When I stood up to get a good look, he was startled and took his jacket off and turned to run away and that's when I saw he was exposed," Velazquez said.
She said the children didn't see anything, but she did.
Kelly was convicted of first-degree sex assault in 1997.
There was no way Velazquez could have known about her neighbor's past, because after initially reporting a New Haven shelter as his address, Kelly never told the state he was moving next door to the West Haven daycare, making him "non-compliant" in the eyes of the law.
"It's frightening to be around someone of that nature and to have all these children here because there's a high volume of kids in this area," Velazquez said.
Troubling to this neighbor, and also lawmakers because even if Kelly did report the address, a registered sex offender living next to a daycare is not a violation.
Last year, State Rep. Stephen Dargan, who sits on the Public Safety and Security Committee, wanted to change that, but the proposal died because some towns said it would be hard to enforce.
“There was some argument, especially in major cities, that every 1,000 feet there seems to be a school or a church or a nursing home,” Dargan said.
He added that he will try again in the next session, but will work with the Judicial Branch and the state’s attorney to modify the bill.
At court, Kelly’s family issued a statement saying "What my brother did 19 years ago, he did his time and paid the price. My brother, in a million years, would never harm a child."
Kelly’s sister argues Velazquez didn't see what she thought and suggests her brother may have been urinating. Either way, it's not sitting well with the daycare owner.
“You could have gone anywhere to do this, why do it in front of the kids,” Velazquez said.
Kelly is being held on a $15,000 bond.
His public defender says he won't be able to make it. If he does, the judge said he could not live near the daycare or within 200 yards of a school.
Police said Kelly allegedly opened his coat to expose himself to a woman and some children.
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