Game room operator arrested then released - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Olive Branch, IL

Game room operator arrested then released

Game room operator arrested then released
By: CJ Cassidy

OLIVE BRANCH, IL -- Prosecutors grant an Olive Branch woman a get out of jail free card after a weekend behind bars.

The 34-year-old is a convicted sex offender.  Police arrested her because they thought she was breaking the law, by operating a business that brings her in contact with children.  It turns out she wasn't breaking the law after all.

The Alexander County State's Attorney tells me an Illinois State Statute made clear the woman did nothing wrong, so he didn't file charges against her.  Because of that, we're not revealing her name, but folks in Olive Branch have a lot to say about her, and the law that set her free.

"You don't send your kids where there's a predator there," a parent who wanted to be identified only as "Joe" says.

The prosecutor's office points to an Illinois Statute, which says "it's unlawful for a child sex offender to knowingly operate...any facility providing programs or services exclusively directed towards persons under the age of 18."

With the Game Room operator running a business that caters to both children and adults, State's Attorney Jeff Farris says she stayed within the law.

Some angry parents in Olive Branch call it a loophole.  "It's a bad message we're sending to society. People and parents need to wake up. They're out there, they're real, they'll take advantage of a child in a minute. Once a sex predator always a sex predator," Joe adds.

Joe also wants to know why a portion of the same law keeps sex offenders out of public parks when children are present. He calls that a contradiction.  "The law needs to change, and be more stricter," he says.

But other parents say everyone deserves a second chance.  "I've got a 16-year-old boy and girl - I trust them going down there, and it doesn't bother me in the least. 14 years is a long time ago. They ought to throw it away and forget about it," Roger Tucker of Olive Branch says.

The operator of the Game Room did not return our calls.

In the meantime, people in her community say they plan on calling on state legislators to push for a change in the law.

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