CLOQUET, Minn. (AP) — The Cloquet School District has denied a parent’s request to move a bus stop away from a sex offender’s house.

Tarissa Saice says she no longer felt her fifth-grader was safe standing along at the bus stop after the sex offender moved into the neighborhood. So each morning, she packs up her 8-month-old baby and her 4-year-old and they walk the older child to the bus stop.

Superintendent Ken Scarbrough wrote in a letter to parents that changing a bus route every time a sex predator moves into a neighborhood would set a “problematic precedence.”

The Duluth News Tribune says the sex offender is the community’s only Level 3 predator, which means he’s at the highest risk to reoffend.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (63)
  1. up north tourist who now spends no money in Cloquet says:

    Wow. Cloquet sides with sex offenders over children.
    Good to know….

    1. Rockfish says:

      You got that from this article? WOW!

    2. Bob says:

      Just how stupid are you? Move the perv not the bus stop. What do cater to these pervs? Your sick

  2. Jake says:

    I think I’m okay with the “precedence” of moving a bus stop every time a Level 3 sex offender moves to the house right by it.

  3. Jim says:

    If mom is so worried she should just continue to stand at the bus stop with her kid. Parents shouldn’t rely on government to do their job for them. There are criminals and perverts everywhere.

    1. jan says:

      Yes, there are perverts everywhere but why put children in their paths? Maybe they thought the sex offender’s civil rights would be violated and if they moved the bus stop away, his feelings would be hurt. Whatever happened to common sense?

      1. Jim says:

        Government can’t and shouldn’t protect us from everything. Mom should use a little of the “common sense” you mentioned and protect her own family instead of expecting the government to do it for her.

        1. bill says:

          Burn the house down.

        2. Mark says:

          Exactly, the government is not there to protect you from pedophiles and rapists. : {

        3. DJP says:

          Yep…I agree totally!

    2. Matt says:

      Jim, where does it say that the mother just leaves her child there and goes home? It doesn’t. Have you been hanging out at the bus stop?

      1. Jim says:

        Matt, where did I say that she did? The story says that she waits at the bus stop with her kid so she can protect her kid the pervert. My point is that she should just continue to do that and her child will be safe, and she won’t need the government to hold her hand.

    3. igf says:

      Says the neckbeard with no wife or kids to worry about.

      1. markH says:

        @igf- Remember to tackle the ball and not the man.

    4. cindy says:

      Isn’t it the governments job to protect children & keep these perverts where they belong?? In Prison?? my god a school bus stop is such a small request to keep chilren safe. why not grant it??

    5. jessie says:

      OMG. The schools are our government?, Are we in China? I thought our schools were schools, there to help and teach and to protect our kids, not govern them. o.k. ALL YOU PARENTS QUIT YOUR JOBS SO YOU CAN WATCH YOU KIDS IN SCHOOL, ON THEIR WAY TO SCHOOL , AND ON THEIR WAY HOME. that’s much easier than moving a bus stop down the block…Grandma jessie

  4. SCOTTY says:

    Superintendent Ken Scarbrough wrote in a letter to parents that changing a bus route every time a sex predator moves into a neighborhood would set a “problematic precedence”. Cloquet is the town of choice for sex affenders?

  5. Helena says:

    I think mom should take the leiter from the district national. This is about due diligence.

  6. uoef says:

    If this story gets enough publicity the school will change it’s stance. Just imagine how much they would be sued into the ground if something ever happened and they had refused to move it. Siding with a sex offender over a child’s safety. good move there.

    1. Guy says:

      And the Level 3 doesn’t have feet & can’t walk to the new site?
      How far is far enough?

      Actually; I would suspect that THAT stop is the SAFEST one. If the Level 3 is going to kidnap a kid; it is unlikely that he will do it from the stop right outside his house. Criminals are rarely THAT stupid in real life.

      1. Reality Check says:

        Maybe they can move the stop down the street in front of the house of a former murderer or drug dealer who aren’t required to register with anyone. Seriously, the idea that an intersection near a former sex offender’s house is ‘dangerous’ but that every other intersection not shown near a sex offender’s house is ‘safe’ is laughable. Too many hysterical people who live their lives afraid of the world. Watch your kids, use common sense, relax.

      2. jessie says:

        Yeah, let the kids sit in his living room and keep warm on a cold day. he wouldn’t do anything in his own house. Are you related ti Ken?

      3. greg says:

        Really you believe what you just posted, you must not be a criminal because that was just a stupid post

  7. Fred says:

    they plant most of them on the east side, since we are poor and have no voice to speak out. they dont even fix all the bridges any more, they just take them down and keep them down permanently. heck there was one sex offender living across from a grade school a while ago. oops.

    1. jackactionhero says:

      The East side is a cess pool. I had the unfortunate experience of living there for 7 years. Even the white people are trashy over there.

      1. Good heavens! Not the whites too! says:

        “Even” the white people are trashy, you say? I take it you don’t normally equate white people with human trash? Is there a color of people you do equate human trash with? If not, then why the surprise that you should find a splash of white among all of that human trash?

        Actually, equating a group of people with trash means that you’re peddling the sort of dehumanizing filth that provides the justification for genocide in far less enlightened parts of the world. Which is to say that don’t make that comparison much myself. Although if I did, I think I’d reserve the phrase “human trash” for honking, hissing, goose-stepping imbeciles who condemn others on the basis of their race or ethnicity.

  8. Russ says:

    Hey Mom after you load your 4 year old and your 8 month old,load load and pack your .44 magnum.

  9. resourceful mother with great ideas ;) says:

    There have to be other bus stops somewhere else also. she could move the kid to a different stop or drive the kid to school. besides, in December when there is 4 feet of snow & the temp is -13 with wind chill a bunch of moms & dads wait at the bus stop with the kids in their car (in our neighborhood in the middle of Saint Paul) or start a car pool?? I agree its bologna that the school district is ignoring the request but if they fail to abide then come up with something else. if at first you don’t succeed try, try again. be resourceful.

  10. resourceful mom with great ideas ;) says:


  11. SG says:

    First we don’t know that this sex offender is even interested in children. If that is the case than the bus stop should be moved. I could be mistaken but I beleive that there is a precedent that a convicted pedophile can not live within a certain distance of a school. I don’t see where the difference is between a school and a bus stop..

    @ Jim, Yes parents should do their part in protecting their children but the community does play a role in that protection as well. It seems unlikely that you have children yourself. On nice days it might not seem so bad to take a 4 year old and an 8 month old out to wait for a bus with a 5th grader but it is a much bigger task than it sounds especially when you have to do it on the cold MN winter mornings. I’ve been ther and done that. This mom is doing her job and looking out for the safety of all her children. Would it be any diffrent if she were petitioning for a traffice light at a busy and dangerous intersetion? Or would it be her responsibilty alone to see that her kids get across the street safely.?

    1. Jim says:

      So the government should spend money and time to move a bus stop so that mom doesn’t have to stand in the cold like her children do all winter? That’s ridiculous. I have no problem with mom petitioning the government to move the bus stop. I also have no problem with the government telling her that they aren’t going to do it. The government’s job is to provide things like traffic signals at busy intersections so we don’t all crash into each other. It’s job is not to move bus stops so moms can abdicate their parental responsibilities to government.

      1. jessie says:

        How much does it cost for the “super” to call the bus co. and say move the bus stop?
        ? They do not have to move the street, just the kids!! <:. UNDERSTAND????

    2. lala g says:

      “Offender engaged in sexual contact with victim (female, age 8). Contact included penetration. Offender gained compliance through force and threats with a weapon. Offender was known to victim.” according to the MN dept. of corrections level 3 predatory offender search.

  12. Tracy says:

    Personally, I don’t think it matters if this person likes little kids, or is a convicted rapist of grandmas. A child should not have to be near that and a parent should not have to figure out how to explain why they can’t go to someones house (hey emergencies happen), why they have to change how they get to school or walk to the store.

    The children are supposed to be our future. We don’t need to have them live in fear, distrust, or lost innocence. They have enough to deal with when they grow up.

  13. Jim says:

    “Parents should be protectors of their children and the schools should be concerned. If this IDIOT superintendent of the school will not take a simple step of moving a bus stop, then he should not be a superintendent.”

    Does that make sense to you Tracy? You write that schools should not be the protectors of children, but that the superintendent should be fired for not protecting this child. I don’t get it.

    As for why these “parasites” are allowed to live, this state does not execute people. Maybe in Texas you can find the criminal-killing nirvana you seek.

    1. Jim coddles criminals says:

      You sound like one of those cheap public defenders, Jim. Kind of a law school drop out.

  14. James says:

    Three part solution. Part #1… establish a strict prison system barring any “basic human rights” that are not necessary to sustain life, i.e. food and water. Part #2… a right to die policy that allows criminals the opportunity for unassisted suicide while strictly confined. Part #3… publicly shame and ridicule this behavior into obsolescence.

    Treat it like it’s no different than jumping off a cliff. For the jumper, there may be a thrill to jump off a cliff into a pile of rocks, but that’ll be the last time you’ll ever jump into the rocks. For a sex offender, same final outcome. Society should not be compelled by a state of perpetual forgiveness to allow these criminals a second chance at life.

    The “problematic precedence” is that when you don’t play by the rules of human law, no matter how harmful the actions, the consequences will be forgiven. I don’t subscribe to that.

    1. jackactionhero says:

      “Part #3… publicly shame and ridicule this behavior into obsolescence.”

      Sadly, I think you really believe this would stop sex offenders.

  15. Molly says:

    AMEN to all you posted here!!! You are so right these sex offenders need to be in some grave someplace or locked up for good!!!! they do NOT ever get well, always lookin for the next easy child to molest and destroy. And that supt. is one jerk!!! fire him sch. dist and get a competent man who puts children and their safety over the perverts/sex offenders. how appauling,,,the supt deems moving the bus stop ‘problematic’ not the problem being the sex pervert!!! what is with you Mr Superintendent? you work for the parents on behalf of their children you know!!

  16. lala g says:

    John Joseph Couture is the offender, “Offender engaged in sexual contact with victim (female, age 8). Contact included penetration. Offender gained compliance through force and threats with a weapon. Offender was known to victim.” according to the MN dept. of corrections level 3 predatory offender search. The fact that he is level 3 (a class deemed most likely to reoffend) should be enough for the school district AND his parole officer to rethink either where HE is living or move HIS victims of choice to another stop.

  17. JOE says:


  18. JMJ says:

    I am starting to think Jim likes children. Oh and Jim it doesn’t cost money to move the school bus stops. School bus stops do not have signs that need to moved, just the pickup location.

  19. Common Sense Mom says:

    Wow, Jim! I don’t think having a school move a bus stop a short distance away is asking the “government” to go out of their way. The government steps in plenty of places that it shouldn’t so is asking a school district to make a wise decision going overboard? I don’t think so. This just seems like good, plain old common sense… which at times seems like a lost art.

    The bus has to stop anyway. Could they maybe just stop a block away? Poor decision for the sup. not to move this. Would he if that were his child expected to stand out in front of a convicted sex offenders home? I wouldn’t expect him to move the children if they weren’t exactly what this offender preys on.

    As a mom, I would certainly bundle up a baby and another toddler if that were the only way to protect my children but I would sure prefer to not need to do that daily. Hopefully other neighbors will organize a good watch.

    1. Jim says:

      “I don’t think having a school move a bus stop a short distance away is asking the “government” to go out of their way. ”

      Well I have to assume the school/government disagrees with you, or else they would simply move the stop. To me, “good, plain old common sense” would be for this mother to protect her children from a creep and not expect the government to do it for her. As I said, I support her right to ask the school to move the stop, but I also support the school’s right not to move it, and ultimately the child’s safety is the responsibility of the mother.

      1. Mark says:

        Right, we should not expect plows to plow the roads, police to arrest criminals or firefighters to douse the flames either. It’s everyone for themselves… this whole society thing is overrated. We should all just hire bodyguards for ourselves and our children 24/7.

        1. Jim says:

          Plows plow roads and firefighters fight fires. Those are their jobs. Schools teach students, they don’t move bus stops due to the request of one woman who doesn’t seem to want to spend the time to make sure her children are safe while they wait for the bus. She’d rather complain to the school and have them do it for her. But you bring up a good point about civic duties. This woman should be complaining to police about the criminal in her neighborhood, not the school.

          Like other people have posted, moving the bus stop is not going to make kids any safer. The world is full of dangerous criminals, no matter where you wait for the bus.

  20. adoptivemom says:

    If the school district says it’s too expensive to move the bus stop and would set precedence to do so, I would request that at the expense of the school district an adult be stationed at the bus stop to watch over the children as they await the bus. The tax payers footed the bill when this predator was in prison, why should we not also foot the bill to protect our innocent children?

  21. DJP says:

    Where did it say in the story that he was a CHILD sex offender?? There are other types too…everyone is jumping to conclusions here!

  22. Richard in Minneapolis says:

    Everyone here posting saying the stop should be moved seems to be assuming that the offender spends all his time at home. I’m sure you will also find him buying gas at the gas station, groceries at the grocery store and having lunch at McDonalds.

    Moving the stop is not going to accomplish anything.

  23. lala g says:

    Here are some general ideas on how to keep kids safe in this situation:
    Q. Now that I know a sex offender lives in my neighborhood, what should I do differently to protect my family and myself?
    A. Open communication between parents and children are vital components of family safety. In general terms tell your children that this person has hurt someone before. Explain to them that they should stay away from this individual. Review safety tips. Be aware of common lures. The purpose behind community notification is to reduce the chances of future victimization of persons by this offender. The information gained through notification should assist you and your family in avoiding situations that allow for easy access to victims. Don’t harass your neighbor. An offender put in a stressful state is more likely to relapse….(okay, personally, I think they (offenders) shot themselves in the foot as far as trust and warm fuzzy feelings from the parents in the neighborhood )

    Q. What do I tell my children about this offender?
    A. Avoid scary details. Keep information general, Explain the importance of avoiding dangerous situations in general
    DON’T accept a ride from the offender.
    DON’T go into the home or yard of the offender.
    TELL your parents if this person offers you toys, money, or gifts.
    TRY to use the buddy system when children play outdoors.
    CALL 911 if your parents aren’t home and this offender approaches you.
    Hopefully the school as well as the parents TEACH kids how to stay safe.

  24. lala g says:

    @Richard in Mpls…see full story in The Duluth News Tribune then the link to MN level 3 offender search

  25. Bob says:

    But some of you morons bring your kids to church, full of pedo bears.

  26. yikes says:

    Seems WCCO will not allow you to post a solution to this problem. This is my third attempt at a post. I contacted my representatives and asked them to look into this matter and asked for a response. This is surely a statewide child safety issue that can easily be solved at the state level.

  27. Justin Esperum says:

    One thing I noticed in the article is that it didn’t mention what the person’s crime was. There are several sex crimes that could wind up with you being required to register but not all are involving a child. That bit shows poor sensationalist journalism.

    I do hate to play devils advocate on this subject as well, but how would making the kids go further from their house be safer? I would want my child’s bus stop as close as possible so if something goes wrong I could be there ASAP.

    If you are really concerned about your child’s safety you wouldn’t have had them ride a bus to begin with and would give them a ride yourselves.

  28. Hard Willie says:

    Cmon, what’s the big deal.

  29. Concerned for kids says:

    Wonder if the Cloquet school district has a legal department. That is a lawsuit waiting to happen. It’s free to move a bus stop. It doesn’t hurt anyone to move a bus stop. It’s not due to laziness that the bus stop request has been made. It’s simply to put distance between the perv. and children. If the police department recommends it, the school district should follow that recommendation – that’s a no-brainer.

  30. Amanda says:

    Well, if it’s not the government’s duty to protect the citizens then why have laws at all? What label this guy as a sex offender in the first place? All parents should then just expect that their child is in danger and watch them at all times since it’s not the government’s (law enforcement, schools, etc.) duty to do so. I’m not saying that the government bears the all the responsibility or even the bulk of it, but there are laws made by government that should be enforcable by government.

    As for the school district not setting the precedent for changing bus routes “everytime a sex offender moves into the neighborhood”…just how many sex offenders do they plan to move into the area??

  31. EJ says:

    If I remember right, there are over 750,000 registered sex offender in the USA. It’s up to the parents to be apart of their kids life daily, and keep them safe, not the Government.

  32. Sandy says:

    Lets just solve this problem and keep the problems in the clinker! I had one in my neighborhood, 1/2 block from an elementary school. A repeated offender. He is locked up again. May he stay there, it is a crime, and not a fixable situation. Time for the sentence to change to life for 1st timers.

  33. Sam says:

    For those who say that we should just keep them in jail, they never amount to any good, they _always_ repeat their crime, I’d like to see what study you are quoting here. A Bureau of Justice Statistics study actually showed that child molesters are _less_ likely to commit any crime after their stay in jail.

    I get that this is a terrible crime and that it’s hard to not react solely on emotion. To me, this is far worse than most murders, because it is something that is going to cause pain for the rest of someone’s life. My initial instinct is to condemn anyone to death. This is how we were programmed to act; to defend children. But if we don’t look at things rationally, if we just react emotionally, we aren’t going to make society better. We’re going to end up with a society where people are punished; jailed, fined, or executed; based on public perception, rather than based on actual understanding of the harm that is caused and the likelihood of harm being done again.

  34. Molly says:

    Sam you make no sense at all. your own words:
    ‘actual understanding of the harm that is caused and the likelihood of harm being done again’ hello!! we, the public understand very well…. thats why these creeps need to be locked up for good or death penalty….they don’t get well and they have forfeited the priviledge of being free and walking amoung us period!!!!

  35. a concerned citizen says:

    Do your homework. There are sex offenders all over most towns and there are also bus stops all over the same towns. I you look at the maps, this would be an issue in nearly every single town and city in America. I would think the problem is worse in a large city. I agree that we want to protect the children, but if this is the answer, we would need to start moving bus lines weekly all over the country.

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