Convicted sex offender served his time, neighbors concerned over release

A convicted sex offender who has served his time may soon be living in East Palo Alto. The state is proposing to move him into a home at the corner of Beech Street and Clarke Avenue.

"We have a new person coming in with the worst background," said Neighbor Mirza Ochoa.

People living in this East Palo Alto neighborhood are just now finding out who their new neighbor could be.

"I’m pretty sure if the Hispanic community finds out about this, we aren’t going to want our children to be out here late at night," said Ochoa.

Police said 60-year-old Lamar Johnson was convicted in 1984 and 1992 for raping three victims. He was sentenced to 36 years in prison.

"It’s not up to us. A judge here in San Mateo County has decided a house in East Palo Alto is adequate for this individual," said Lopez.

Police said Johnson’s victims ranged in age from 15 to 40 years old. Johnson is from Menlo Park with no ties to the community. So why East Palo Alto?

"Yes I was here, I was even out on the street protesting," said East Palo Alto Vice Mayor Ruben Abrica.

Abrica was among those who protested outside the same home back in 2009 when repeat rapist Donald Robinson moved in. Neighbors said Robinson moved out a few weeks ago, leaving a vacancy.

"It’s irresponsible to place people such as him in any community particularly those that are densely populated, the state, judicial system needs to come up with an alternative," said Abrica.

Neighbors admit they had no problems with Robinson. They said a man in his 60s rents the home.

"For my daughters, they don’t like it," said Neighbor Maria Rodriguez. "They say mommy it’s dangerous."

Juan and Maria Rodriguez moved next door two years ago and had no idea the home housed what the state classified as a sexually violent predator.

The home is several hundred feet away from six schools, two churches and Airbnb rentals. Ochoa is volunteering to pass out fliers.

"East Palo Alto has come a long way for us to be feeling again with fear," said Ochoa.

The hope is there’s enough community pushback to persuade a judge not to relocate him here. A hearing is set for December 1 at San Mateo County Superior Court.

Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Azenith at and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or