STATE POLICE have allowed a sexually violent predator to register his address as a suburban community park that's a popular hangout for children - and the local police chief is not happy.
"It's absolutely insane," Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said. "The State Police should have asked him what bench he was sleeping on so we could find him."
In 2003, Steven Sherlock, now 30, pleaded guilty to aggravated indecent assault of a 13-year-old girl and was sentenced to two to four years, according to court records. Chitwood said Sherlock was working as a ride operator at a Sharon Hill carnival in 2002 when he sexually assaulted the girl under a Ferris wheel.
As a result of his conviction and psychological testing, Sherlock was determined to be a sexually violent predator and is required to register his address under Megan's Law.
Chitwood said that he was shocked to learn from State Police late last week that Sherlock listed his address as Naylor's Run Park, on Garrett Road. The Megan's Law website is public, and Sherlock is labeled as a homeless person with the park as his address.
Chitwood said that the local YMCA brings children to play at the park, and hundreds of kids and families use the grounds each day.
"Any type of activity you can imagine kids are doing there, and this nut is living there?" Chitwood said. "The craziness of the state in their infinite wisdom to allow a sexual predator to use a park as his address makes absolutely no sense."
Sherlock's predator classification required Upper Darby police officers to notify every house, school and day-care center within 250 feet of the park. "Obviously, people are scared to death, especially people with kids," Chitwood said. "How can the state allow this guy to use a park as his address when sex offenders aren't supposed to be near kids?"
Chitwood said that cops have yet to spot Sherlock in the park. People are not allowed in township parks after dark, so if police do spot him after the sun goes down, they'll lock him up, he said.
Messages left for several State Police representatives on Sunday were not returned.
Contact Stephanie Farr at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-854-4225. Follow her on Twitter @FarFarrAway. Read philly.com/philly/blogs/delco/.