A Lee County mother’s concerns about her child’s safety at a school bus stop located outside a registered sex offender’s home have led to the offender’s arrest. On Thursday, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested Ezequiel Pagan.
Initially, the mother took her worries to the Lee County School district. However, she wasn’t satisfied with their response, so she turned to WINK News for help.
- [ READ INITIAL COVERAGE: Child’s bus stop located at home of registered sex offender, mother begs school district to take action ]
The mother, who asked us to not name her for safety reasons, expressed concerns that her child’s designated bus stop on Fordham St. in Fort Myers shared an address with a registered sex offender. WINK News later verified her claim through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s online registry. One day after our story aired, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested the offender, Ezequiel Pagan.
Pagan went before a judge Friday morning to face four charges: failure to report changes in employment status; failure to re-register as a sex offender every six months; trespassing on school grounds; and violating a child safety zone ordinance. He’s currently being held on $200,000 bond.
Mom told WINK News she’s a bit overwhelmed, but thankful we told her story.
“This isn’t going to be the last time that something like this happens,” Mom said. “So, let’s not be reactive, but proactive.”
Mom said all she wanted was for the school district to move the bus stop somewhere else along Fordham St. She mentioned that the registered sex offender consistently appeared when the children gathered at the bus stop in the mornings and afternoons, and that made her uncomfortable. She also said the situation escalated one day when the sex offender attempted to get on the school bus.
“All I wanted was two blocks away, or a block over, just not directly there,” Mom said.
However, Lee County Schools told mom and WINK News, the law only requires them to move a bus stop if there’s a violent sexual predator nearby.
Here’s a statement the district provided Wednesday:
“We are not required to move bus stops for sexual offenders. The number of sexual offenders in this neighborhood does not allow us to move this stop to a location more than 1,000 feet from one of their homes. we are only required to move stops for violent sexual predators, and there are only three of those in lee county. as a reminder, parents are responsible for the safety of their children until they board the bus in the morning and once they get off the bus in the afternoon.”
“When things don’t seem right, and they’re not adding up, they’re usually not adding up for a reason,” Mom said.
On Thursday, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office moved in and arrested the sex offender. According to the arrest report, there is video evidence that he got a bus driver to open the door, then leaned into a school bus with his head, torso and arms. For a registered sex offender, that’s against the law.
Not only did deputies arrest Pagan, but the district is also taking action by moving the school bus stop.
“If you can’t go through this route, go through another route,” Mom said. “I decided to call you because I felt like this would be aired and get the message out.”
The school district denies the sex offender ever boarded the bus. While that’s technically true, he crossed the threshold of the school bus door.
Mom said her case is proof: Trust your instincts and keep pushing, even when you’re told “no.”