CCSU Newspaper Discovers Registered Sex Offender Enrolled Without Notifying School - NBC Connecticut

CCSU Newspaper Discovers Registered Sex Offender Enrolled Without Notifying School

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    CCSU Newspaper Discovers Registered Sex Offender Enrolled Without Notifying School

    A registered sex offender is going under the radar at a state university and taking classes without proper notification.

    The registered sex offender went to class without informing the school or the state of his enrollment there for about a year until a tip was given to a group of student journalists.  

    "People should have the security knowing they're going to be safe going around school that there's not a sex offender walking around campus," Iman Moosavi, a senior at Central Connecticut State University, said.

    Analisa Novak, a senior and editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Recorder, broke the story about her now former classmate and friend, Nathan Cheatham.

    "We had a sex offender on campus who failed to disclose his state and failed to disclose to the university that he was a sex offender and because of this and because of the university not keeping up with the list, not checking it regularly, he was in our school for a whole year without state police or university knowledge," Novak said.

    Multiple sources confirmed for the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters the 29-year-old Cheatham was not forthcoming on his CCSU application when he transferred in last year.

    Cheatham is also required to notify the state police sex offender registry of his updated student status.

    Connecticut's sex offender registry shows a 2006 conviction in Michigan for gross indecency between a male and female.

    "As an adult, you have to own up to your responsibilities. He previously disclosed at a previous school. He didn't disclose here and in the application there's no ... 'maybe.' It's  a 'yes' or 'no' answer," Novak said.

    Connecticut law says sex offenders must register their current address and where they go to school. According to the registry, Cheatham became compliant late last month.

    NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters tried to reach Cheatham for comment but attempts were unsuccessful. 

    "They failed the campus because thankfully this was became a light because of an anonymous tip and not an event that would've happen. On top of that, the other CSUs use the online registry to put pictures and names and the sex offenders registry number on there," said Novak, who added to people who don't know how to use the sex offender registry," Novak said.

    University officials will only say Cheatham is not currently a student at CCSU.

    State police Sgt. Matthew Garcia, who works with the sex offender registry unit, said Cheatham was required to notify them.

    "He has a requirement to notify CSP SOR. As of today's date, he's in compliance. If he was attending CCSU last school year and was not listed on the public SOR site as attending the university, then he had not notified CSP SOR and was in violation of state statute," Garcia said.

    "There are basically two ways that we become aware of individuals on the sex offender registry. One is through our application for admissions, which asks all prospective students about any prior convictions, including for sexual offense," Dr. Mark McLaughlin, associate vice president of marketing and communications at CCSU, said. "The second is through our CCSU police department, which may obtain such information from the Connecticut state police. Once our police department becomes aware that someone on the sex offender registry is a student or employee on campus, they conduct a thorough review of the individual, including an interview in person. This process also applies when an individual is initially registered in another state and then relocates to Connecticut."

     The university’s website, in particular the police department’s site, features a link to the Connecticut state police’s sex offender registry.

    "The Connecticut State Police’s registry is the most current and accurate listing and many, perhaps most, universities and colleges provide sex offender registry information in this manner. We do not — and to the best of my knowledge neither does any other university/college — generally notify the campus community when someone on the sex offender registry is enrolled or works here," McLaughlin said.

    "Exceptions may be made in a somewhat limited manner for Level III offenders (those at the highest level of risk) on a case-by case basis. We will review this one to determine if it is continuing to appropriately serve the campus community," McLaughlin said.