Updated:ORLANDO, Fla. —
A convicted sex offender from California lived under the radar in Orlando for five years until the law caught up to him, according to investigators.
Charley Hunter is in jail in Orange County on charges of failing to register as a sex offender.
Channel 9 learned Hunter was caught while volunteering at the Prince of Peace Church, which also houses a preschool in Orlando.
Hunter also lived near two schools, authorities said.
The Rev. Ken Green said he still doesn't know how a registered sex offender hid
for five years without anyone knowing.
The church is now looking into its volunteer policies and plans to make changes.
"We do background checks with any of our volunteers who work with students
, and our preschool. The food pantry is not in that capacity," said Green.
The church said Hunter was never around children and reiterated that the school was always secure with a locked gate that is only accessible with a code.
But still, Green says with the news of Hunter's past, they wouldn't have taken any chances.
"He would not have been on our property," he said.
Authorities said only Hunter’s
longtime girlfriend, Patricia Eichhorn, knew that Hunter was a convicted sex offender.
“He has attention
(deficit) disorder, so he has a tendency not to follow through on paperwork,” she said. “He’s done nothing to hurt anybody or anything like that."
But paperwork is required by law to declare sex offender status after Hunter moved from California to Orlando five years ago.
Federal court documents from 1996 stated Hunter was convicted in San Diego of two counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14.
Hunter told authorities he thought Florida was a state that forgave sex offenders from other states.
“Pretty much unfair because the original charge was 18 years ago. He’s done nothing since then,” Eichhorn said.
The United States Marshals Service received a tip that Hunter was living on Semoran Boulevard.
Channel 9 was told he was arrested on the grounds of Prince of Peace Church and preschool in Orlando, where he occasionally helped give food to the needy.
Church leaders said they had no idea of his status as a sex offender out of California, and they don’t condone that type of activity.
Jackson Middle School is just down the road from Hunter’s apartment.
“I’m surprised as a parent. I would like to know these things,” said parent Alive Viruet.
The state’s sex offender registry now includes Hunter.
If convicted, Hunter faces more than a year in prison.