Co-Ed Sex Offenders, Part Two

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It's a problem that's garnering a lot of attention, registered sex offenders that are affiliated with college campuses.

There are 455 registered sex offenders at colleges and universities across the state of Texas. That means the person sitting next to you in class could be a sex offender, or the person you pass while walking on campus.

So are you safe?

We asked local officials with Texas A&M, Sam Houston and Blinn why registered sex offenders are allowed on college campuses.

"At the time we were not checking for registered sex offenders," Jill Pollock with Texas A&M University said. "This has been a more recent phenomenon partly because of the availability now of the list of registered sex offenders by area, so that's a good thing."

Texas A&M lists five registered sex offenders on the University police department's website. Two are classified as students, one contractor, and two employees.

In January 2006, Texas A&M adopted new rules, implemented better background checks and decided to no longer hire anyone that is a registered sex offender.

"There is such a risk we believe to the university with minor children on campus, children of faculty, children of students, children visiting the campus that we don't want to have the hint of a risk by continuing to hire or hiring without knowing registered sexual offenders," Pollock said.

The three that are affiliated with the university were hired before that decision was made and according to A&M officials will not be let go.

As for students, the university hopes to make a decision whether to continue admitting by August of this year.

Dean John Yarabek with Sam Houston State University says their policy depends on the situation.

"They would have to, as a student indicate that on their admissions application and then we would examine that and determine when it was and take it as a case by case basis," Yarabek said. "You look at the time, when did the incident occur-what were the specifics of it and potentially would that be a danger to our students or staff."

Sam Houston's University Police Department website lists three registered sex offenders, two students and one employee.

"If it's something that someone can grow through and not make the same mistake hopefully again then I think that person deserves a second chance," Yarabek said.

As for Blinn, the college leaves it up to local law enforcement to notify them if a registered sex offender is admitted or hired.

According to Blinn officials there are currently no registered sex offenders affiliated with the institution.