Megan's Law at Work

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Neighborhood alarmed to learn ice-cream truck vendor is registered sex offender

The Press-Enterprise
A group of Perris homeowners has launched a campaign to run their local ice cream man out of the neighborhood.

Anthony G. Toles, his neighbors discovered recently, is a registered sex offender who has been living and driving his ice cream truck in the Villages of Avalon, a newer housing development near Lake Perris.

On the Fourth of July, about 10 neighbors distributed 500 custom-printed door hangers alerting residents to "a potential threat to our children" driving a green ice cream truck.

Silvia Flores / The Press-Enterprise
A leaflet is hung on the door of a home in the Villages of Avon, a Perris subdivision, warning that the driver of a green ice cream truck is a registered sex offender.

"They have to live somewhere," said Amanda Burnham, one neighbor who helped distribute the door hangers, "but they don't have to drive an ice cream truck."

Toles, 48, was incensed when he heard of the neighborhood campaign. But his neighbors may get their way -- he's thinking of moving.

"I think that it's very messed up the way everybody is judging me," he said, describing himself as a father and grandfather. "It hurts me. My pride is hurt.

Toles pleaded guilty in 2003 to continuous sexual abuse of a child and lewd and lascivious acts against a child. The victims were described in court records as his daughters, both of whom were under 14. He was placed on three years' probation and sentenced to one year in county jail with credit for seven months served, court records show. His probation expired last July.

Toles contends he didn't molest his daughters. He said he pleaded guilty because he had poor legal representation and didn't want to risk prison time.

Toles, who lives with his wife in a two-story rented home, said he's no predator, that he's merely trying to earn a living selling candy, ice cream and water guns. He said he drives an ice cream truck because no one wants to hire someone with his criminal history.

But while Toles peddled frozen treats at schools, parks and swimming pools for the past couple months, his neighbors were reporting the movements of his "dreaded green ice cream truck" on a community Internet message board. The discussion began in May with a neighbor who spotted him on the Megan's Law Internet database of registered sex offenders.

The Megan's Law site was launched by the state Department of Justice in 2004 for residents who want to keep track of registered sex offenders in their neighborhoods.

Sheriff's Department spokesman Jerry Franchville said Perris police checked on Toles after a neighbor reported him, but because he is no longer on parole or probation there's nothing they can do.

Read the rest of the article here.

Update: For California, here is the link to Megan's Law. Be informed, and be pro-active.
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