HUBBARD - A Girard landlord has rented to a questionable tenant, and now Hubbard residents want an explanation at the least.
Nick Carano said he didn't know about David C. While's past when he rented the apartment at 207 Jackson St. to him.
While, 62, is a registered sex offender deemed a sexual predator by Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.
He was convicted in 2001 of gross sexual imposition against a child under 12 and served about 10 years in prison, being released Dec. 7, 2010. Before that, he had served 13 years in Pinellas County, Fla., after a 1987 conviction for sexual battery by an adult of a victim under 12.
While could not be reached for comment. His phone number is unlisted, and no one answered a knock at his door.
Because While was convicted before the Adam Walsh Act of 2008 was adopted that restricts sex offenders from living or being within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare, he cannot be banned from his residence near a Hubbard school.
While, however, is subject to regulations that require notification to neighbors living within 1,000 feet of his residence.
Since those notifications went out earlier in the month, Trumbull County Electronic Sex Offender Registration and Notification office director Russ Maldonado said he has received 300 to 400 calls about While.
Hubbard City Council Safety Committee Chairman and Second Ward Councilman Tim O'Hara held a meeting Wednesday for Maldonado to address concerned residents.
Neither While nor Carano attended the meeting, but much of the city's ward did, and they wanted to know what could be done to make While as uncomfortable in the neighborhood as they are with him being there.
"They sit on the front porch and wave at me and other people when we're at the stop sign there," said Shonie Garono, a mother of four.
Residents expressed horror that While's front yard faces a neighborhood school bus stop. They say they intend to talk to Hubbard Schools Superintendent Richard Buchenic about moving the stop. Bus stops were moved in Niles last year after they were determined to be at the front yards of sex offenders living in that city. Another similar situation was discovered in Vienna, but that district declined to move the stop.
Other parents said they no longer let their children ride their bikes without supervision, and some wanted to know if they could advertise his presence to warn others.
And now residents want to know if Carano would or could evict While.
Maldonado said Ohio Courts have upheld evictions of registered sex offenders who they did not disclose their status to the landlord.
"While the Ohio Attorney General's Office cannot comment on any specific situation, it would be illegal for a landlord to discriminate or evict someone based their race or religion, for example, because those are protected classes under Ohio's fair housing laws. Sex offenders, however, are not categorized as a protected class pursuant to that statute," said Dan Tierney, spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Reached last week by phone, Carano said he did not know of While's status prior to signing the lease.
"I was dumbfounded like everyone else," Carano said. "I can see where residents are upset. I guess I should have scrutinized more who I'm renting to and in the future I will."
Still, he said he's not sure how he will proceed with While.
"Right now I can't answer that. I'm not sure what to do, I'll have to talk to my wife," he said.
Carano said that While's future in-laws live in the home's upstairs unit and if he evicts While, he will lose the other tenants as well. He also said While is a handy-man who fixes things on the property and has kept a clean home and paid his rent on time.
Carano spent all last month renovating the house, with the help of his stepson whom, he admits, is also a registered sex offender.
One of the tenants at 207 1/2 Jackson, While's soon-to-be father-in-law, spoke but declined to give his name. The man said that While is dating his 24-year-old daughter.
"He ain't bothering nobody. The guy'll help anybody out," the neighbor said. "No matter where he lives that guy is gonna have trouble."
The neighbor said he is aware of While's crimes, but they are his business. He added, however, that he does not leave his 12-year-old daughter unattended in While's presence.
Maldonado said that While's status does not prevent him from living next to a minor or in the same dwelling as a minor, but his parole conditions may set such terms. Maldonado said the parole office has a GPS monitor on While to observe his whereabouts.
While's parole officer Robert O'Malley could not be reached for comment.
Maldonado said there are 16 registered sex offenders in the Hubbard School District. An ESORN search online shows there are seven within a one-mile radius of the City Administration building, including While. He said 47 finished their registration periods this year under the terms of Megan's Law, but that new offenders subject to AWA conditions are being registered daily, including five this month.
He said there are almost 20,000 offenders in the Ohio system.