COAL CITY, WV (WOAY) – Raleigh County residents are upset about sex offenders living in group housing in their neighborhood.
Parker Street in Coal City was once a place where children roamed and played freely throughout the neighborhood. Now parents in the neighborhood say they fear for their children’s safety ever since June of 2019, when Pastor Eugene Blankenship housed a group of sex offenders in the neighborhood.
“There are a lot of children, a matter of fact in walking distance of that home within 20 feet there’s at least 5 children across the street. Next door you’ve got another four children and these are small kids,” said resident Shelly Stump.
Neighbors claim they have seen up to 12 different men living in the house.
“The school bus stops right in front of the house to let grade school students off the bus,” said Stump.
One home in Beckley, located on Woodlawn Ave, also had a group of sex offenders living in it. They have been asked to move and will have to relocate due to a zoning issue.
Councilman-at-Large Tim Berry talked to the Pastor who said at the time he was unaware of zoning permits and he’ll relocate the men.
“I think neighbors have seen these individuals walking through their neighborhoods and they knew it wasn’t normal. They were certain that it wasn’t a family because it was different individuals,” said Councilman-at-Large Tim Berry.
Not all residents in the neighborhood are against the sex offenders living there. One neighbor who wishes to stay anonymous says the men are good people.
“They are not realizing that its the past, you’ve suppose to forgive and forget,” said one resident who wish to remain anonymous.