Parents of students at an elementary school in Norwalk are upset over the presence of a man who has repeatedly been spotted in his parked SUV allegedly recording children as they leave the school’s campus.
The unsettling situation outside New River Elementary School has been going on for some time and concerned parents have taken matters into their own hands, confronting the individual they refer to as a “creeper.”
KTLA has blurred the man’s face because law enforcement officials say they can’t prove that he’s done anything wrong. Parents say that’s part of the problem.
“I take my kids here after school and he pulls up to the door and he goes in his passenger [seat] and he puts up a little mirror, or he records them flat out,” Cynthia Valdez told KTLA’s Carlos Saucedo.
Valdez added that she sees the man parked outside the elementary school daily when she arrives to pick up her kids and that she’s called law enforcement before.
“I got a 90-day stay away order, but the county wouldn’t approve a permanent restraining order because he’s never laid hands on me and he’s never threatened me and he never stepped foot on my property,” she explained.
Other parents said they’ve witnessed illicit behavior as well.
“It’s an adult male sitting in his car day in and day out in the passenger side with a blanket, a phone and a laptop,” Sandra Rodriguez said. “So, it’s very concerning.”
Parents and community activists have taken their concerns to the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District and school officials have even put up a tarp to cover a portion of the campus field. The city also put up surveillance cameras where the man parks, but he continues to show up.
“We have kids that we have a duty to protect and when we don’t fulfill that duty, we fail and not just as a district, but as a community,” former student school board member Joseph Trevizu told KTLA.
As for the school district, they put out a statement essentially explaining that their hands are tied in the situation because the man has not broken any laws, adding “…nor have any claims of his behavior been corroborated. In addition, it has been shared with the District that database searches have come back with no record of any offense. The District is also limited because this individual is on a public street and not interfering with school operations.”
“They said he hasn’t broken any laws, but what we want to do,” Trevizu said, “is we want to encourage parents and students who have witnessed this guy masturbating to file police reports. We believe he has violated the child annoyance statute, and we want them to file police reports because that’s the only way to make things happen.”
When the man was confronted earlier today by some outraged parents, he called law enforcement himself because he feared for his own safety.
Deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded and escorted the man away, allowing him to leave, saying they could not link him to any crime.