Sex offender arrested near preschool

Published 2:00 am Saturday, February 16, 2013

The good judgment of a parent and the quick response of Brewton police have put a registered sex offender back behind bars after he was seen in the vicinity of St. Stephens Preschool this week.
Samuel Weaver Jr., 50, of Blueberry Hill Trailer Park, was arrested following the Tuesday incident and was charged with violating sex offender laws, criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.
Brewton Police Chief Monte McGougin said officers responded to a call made by a parent just before noon on Tuesday.
The parent said that a man had approached her and a child and began a conversation surrounding a driver’s license, McGougin said.
Stephanie Walker, director at St. Stephens Preschool, said the incident was handled quickly and efficiently without putting anyone in danger.
“We are very grateful that the parent used good judgment in making that call to police,” Walker said. “We are so grateful that the police responded so quickly and took the matter seriously.”
Walker said safeguards in place at the preschool facility are such that no child could have been in danger when the incident occurred.
“This happened at pick-up time for us which means we have all hands on deck for our children’s sake,” Walker said. “Everyone is on duty during drop-off and pick-up time and we watch things carefully. There was never any danger to our students.”
Walker said teachers and staff at the school are familiar with Weaver having seen him in the vicinity on a previous occasion.
“We also have a food pantry at St. Stephens, but those who come for the pantry use a separate entrance than our students use which means there is never any contact between the students and those who come to the pantry. We had seen him here before when he had come in previously for food. He was told he could not come back to the pantry since he is registered as a sex offender.”
Walker said the incident did prompt a meeting of the staff and teachers at the pre-school.
“We took this opportunity to meet with everyone on staff,’ Walker said. “This incident served as a reminder that we have to be extra cautious to be aware of who is in our midst. None of our children were ever in jeopardy.”
Weaver was arrested on Douglas Avenue near the preschool location after allegedly approaching other parents and children at the school, officials said.
According to records with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Weaver was convicted in 1986 on charges of sodomy against a 7-year-old boy in Covington County. After serving time in an Alabama Department of Corrections facility, Weaver was released on parole in 2001. As a condition of his parole, Weaver was prohibited from residing within 2,000 feet of a school, childcare facility or daycare. The conditions also state the offender is not to loiter within 500 feet of locations that might entertain children, officials said.