Man with history of sexual violence towards minors released in Concord

- People in Concord are finding out belatedly that a sexually violent predator has been released to their city.

51-year-old Robert Bates is a convicted child molester, who preyed on boys aged 6-15 between from the mid-1980s to 1990s.

No landlord was willing to rent to Bates, so he came out of state rehabilitation designated a "transient", which meant the community received no advance notice.

"No way, no way," Concord resident Robin Oehler reacted, outside the Police Department, upon seeing a flyer with Bates' picture on it.

"That's crazy, get him out of here, put him somewhere else!," she exclaimed to KTVU.

The Police Department has issued a warning, but admits it was caught off guard when Bates walked into headquarters on Tuesday to register as a sex offender.

"He was quiet, calm, I spoke with him briefly when he came in," Cpl. Chris Blakely told KTVU.

Sexually violent predators are a special class of offender, considered so high risk, they are kept past their prison terms in state hospitals.

Bates, after intensive counseling, has been deemed rehabilitated by his doctors, and is eligible for supervised release.

Residents aren't convinced. They have been calling police and city hall, unhappy with Bates' placement in Concord.     

"That's unfortunately where they sent him. It wasn't our decision, we don't endorse it, " clarified Blakely, "and we know and understand, that our citizens are upset."

With no permanent home, Bates is moving among budget motels every five days. The Motel 6 on Clayton Road is a likely first stop.

"I have not seen that person," said the front desk clerk when KTVU inquired, "and nobody by that name is in my hotel right now." But the room could be registered to Bates' companion, a state-paid monitor who accompanies him everywhere. Bates also wears a GPS ankle bracelet.

"So he's a block away from my house. That's a scary thought," Ever Chamorro told KTVU, outside El Monte Elementary School, one of 10 schools and preschools within a mile of the hotel cluster.

"It's scary to think, somebody like him is near, just because they say he's rehabilitated," worried Chamorro. "That assurance does not mean much for parents".

About a 30-minute drive east, the city of Oakley successfully reversed Bates' proposed placement several months ago.

"What do we do when they've served their time?", wondered Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick, outside the modest home on Bethel Island that Bates was to rent.  

Romick believes the system, releasing the worst offenders into hostile communities, is flawed.

"The state said, 'let's stick him in the country. He can do less damage out there," declared Romick. "Well obviously that depends on where you are in the country. There's a family living right next door."  

Last summer, public outcry in Concord managed to rebuff another sexually-violent predator, Fraisure Smith, who sexually assaulted four teenage girls.

Currently, California has almost 600 such predators locked in state hospitals; only about 30 have qualified for release.

For authorities, finding them homes is never easy.

"They even store them on prison grounds, in a house or trailer on prison grounds," observed Mayor Romick. "I don't know what you do, but don't put them in my neighborhood. And don't put them in my city."

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