dakota dunham

A sex offender who was living in a tent less than 1,000 feet of the Little Rascals Preschool was arrested last week.

Dakota R. Dunham, 25, Washington, was charged Monday in the 20th District Associate Circuit Court as a prior offender residing within 1,000 feet of a school or child care facility after conviction or plea for a special offense, according to a Franklin County felony complaint.

At about 3 a.m., Friday, June 1, Dunham allegedly trespassed on property located in the 900 block of Bieker Road after being told by the resident to not come to the home. He refused to leave. The resident is the mother of an ex-girlfriend, Washington police said.

According to a probable cause statement filed in the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office by Washington police, when officers arrived on the scene they determined that Dunham is a registered sex offender and, after some investigation, believed he was living in a tent behind the Preschool. By law, he cannot be within 500 feet of any school, or live within 1,000 feet.

Later, officers found Dunham hiding under an awning of a shed owned by Westhoff Construction. Nearby was a makeshift campsite.

The campsite is east of the Preschool and within sight and sound of the children being dropped off, picked up and playing outside, according to police.

At the campsite was a tent and an air mattress that were located behind a shed. The distance to the camp parking lot was 194.67 feet. The distance from the campsite to the front gate/playground is 524.38 feet.

Dunham told officers he was in the tent to be close to his ex-girlfriend. He said his ex-girlfriend told him her mom didn’t want him around.

In 2017 Dunham pled guilty to loitering within 500 feet of a park with a playground, pool or museum in Gerald. He was originally charged with sexual misconduct or attempt of involving a child under 15 in 2015. He was given four years’ supervised probation as a suspended execution of sentence.

Dunham’s probation was later revoked and he was given 120 days of shock incarceration in 2017. He was then sentenced to five years’ probation.

Dunham is being held on $25,000 bail.