University Park Police Discuss Coleman

Late this afternoon, I spoke with University Park police Capt. Leon Holman. He wanted to answer a few questions that have been raised in the comments on Merritt’s two posts regarding Robert Dowe Coleman.

1. Why wasn’t Coleman registered as a sex offender with the UPPD?

“He didn’t have to,” Holman said. In September 2009, he said, a new state law went into effect that required any sex offenders with convictions since 1970 to retroactively register with local authorities. After 30 minutes of Googling, I’ve been unable to find documentation of such a change. But I’ll keep looking.

“We tried to get Coleman to register back in 2006, and we found out he didn’t have to,” Holman said. By the time the law changed in 2009, “he had fallen off the radar. We didn’t even know he was still around until the video incident.”

When the mother from the video incident alerted the police, the UPPD called Coleman, who came down to City Hall with his attorney and registered, Holman said.

“He has to come in every year for the rest of his life before his birthday and register,” Holman said. “If he moves away, then he has to register in whatever city he moves to.”

2. Why didn’t the UPPD arrest Coleman after the video incident?

Coleman’s actions in the video incident were not criminal. “It might have been creepy, but he did not break the law,” Holman said.

3. Why is Coleman allowed to live in University Park?

Holman said Coleman has lived here since the ’70s, and is therefore grandfathered in; the UPPD’s hands are tied. “If he came here as a brand-new resident, we could try to prevent him from moving in,” Holman said.

By Dan Koller Dec. 2, 2010 | 5:58 pm | 25 Comments | Comments RSS
  • Concerned Mom

    Why did a repeat offender fall off the radar? The 2006 case was dragged on until Oct. 2010. The boy he molested in 2006 finally decided not to testify after the defense attorney dragged the case on for 4 years and 20 postponements – he finally decided not to testify.This was a UP case.

  • Bess Marvin

    If I read Merritt’s last post correctly, in 2006 someone alledged Coleman molested him in 1996. The case was dismissed when that person was unwilling to testify.

  • WCM

    “We didn’t even know he was still around until the video incident”.

    He’s lived in the same house for decades. Here’s a bright idea, walk up and knock on his door.

    How can no one at UPPD have thought about him since the law changed over a year ago? There are only two other sex offenders in UP and they are both registered. Three sex offenders in the whole city and they forgot about the most dangerous one?

  • Sick

    If he was supposed to register in Sept 09, why did he not register? Am I reading that wrong? AND sorry, but an admitted and convicted child predator living in the area should have NEVER fallen off anyone’s radar regardless of their need to register or not to register. He should have been watched closer. The newer cases that were dismissed were not dismissed due to lack of evidence or because he was innocent. Those cases alone should have kept him on the police radar forever! And here we all were worried about the window washer that likes Bubbas in jail while a convicted predator is watching/abusing/video taping our kids but he was off the police radar. Unbelievable.

  • D

    @Sick,

    Amen. Something doesn’t smell right here, and we deserve some answers.

  • A lot of unanswered questions

    Sorry, Mr. Holman, I’m not buying into your answers. You very quickly knew where to go when he video taped my friend’s children. I have lived in the Park Cities since 1975 & find it hard to believe that you say he fell off the radar but then you turn around & say he has lived here since the 70’s (your own words) & if I can check the tax roles I am sure the police department of UP also knew that he still lived on Bryn Mawr. He is a sex offender of CHILDREN! Why is he allowed to be close to the schools, video children, or even go on someone’s property when their children are outside. He is now a registered sex offender. Will the UP police department be watching him or do we as parents & citizens have to have our own volunteer group to protect our children? Your answers make no sense to me! You cannot say I’m sorry next time-there is NO reason for another child to be harmed! You better be protecting our children!

  • LM

    “Fallen off the radar” Those are scary words! Who else has fallen off the UP radar? Any other sex offenders who decided not to comply with the regulations? Any murderers, rapists, or stalkers that we should know about who might have fallen off the radar, too?

  • ????

    Easy timeline to follow…..

    Convicted 1980
    Convicted 1983
    Alleged crime committed 1996, bail set at $10,0000 finally brought to trial in 2006 and strung along until dismissed 10/18/2010

    (Coleman’s lawyer – Former Dallas DA Bill Hill 1999-2007 & the case was dismissed by the current DA)

    Then about days/weeks after no longer on trial he videotapes kids playing and presents the footage to mother only after being noticed

    Captain Holman – what steps is a parent suppose to make; restraining orders?!? This is not someone going about daily life but taking actions to feed his perversion.

  • WCM

    Good. The Dallas Morning News is on the story too:

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/120410dnmetoffendervideo.419b2b8.html

    Maybe they can turn up the heat on the UPPD and get Coleman out of the neighborhood.

    Sounds worse than I thought. He lured boys from the library and from the swimming pool back to his creepy house for sexual assaults.

    This predator needs to go!

  • BM

    There are two other registered sex offenders listed on the Texas DPS Website. One lives only ONE block from that elementry school in the 3500 blk of Loves Lane.

  • D

    Copied a comment from the DMN article below. Not sure of the veracity of the comments, but should certainly be investigated. Something stinks here (besides this creep), I for one am not comfortable with the answers we’re getting from the UP Police.

    The retroactive sex offender registration law went into effect a decade ago – not in 2009. Shame on DPD (actually UPPD) and the DAs office for not catching this failure to register in 2006 when yet another sex assault case was pending. Instead of just “telling” him to register over this most recent incident, why aren’t you prosecuting him for Failure to Register? Then you can put him back on probation, impose child safety restrictions (1,000 feet rules included) and court order him into sex offender treatment for additional supervision, accountability and treatment. SOME action is better than nothing.

  • A. B.

    He got a degree from UTD in spring 1996–wonder if he found any victims there:
    http://www.utdallas.edu/dept/graddean/phds/phds9596.htm

  • M

    Maybe it’s time for a change at the top of the UPPD. I hear Pueblo is nice.

  • LM

    I am furious that the DMN would not print his name “because he is not currently charged or being investigated for committing a crime.” He’s been convicted and it’s public record. Grrrr.

  • Mainzer

    I’d really like to see the Park Cities People publish a photo (as recent as they can get their hands on) of this guy. Maybe they could just walk his neighborhood and videotape him in his yard, then give the DVD to his brother.

  • wcm

    WHY IS ROBERT COLEMAN NOT BEING PROSECUTED FOR FAILURE TO REGISTER LAST YEAR?????

    Capt. Holman himself said the offender failed to register in September 2009. Something here is not right. I’m betting someone dropped the ball and is now trying to cover their butt. Sweeping it under the rug with “it’s been taken care of now so everything is fine”. Again, why is he not even being slapped on the wrist for failure to register??

  • James Tucker

    Sounds like SMU is a bit of a magnet for groomers.

    http://www.dmagazine.com/Home/D_Magazine/2010/June/Bill_McNutt_Was_Busted_on_the_Hilltop.aspx?p=1

    The difference being this gentleman paid undue attention to students who were past the age of their majority.

  • kmom

    I’m interested in this:
    “Holman said Coleman has lived here since the ’70s, and is therefore grandfathered in; the UPPD’s hands are tied. “If he came here as a brand-new resident, we could try to prevent him from moving in,” Holman said.”

    You can prevent a sex offender from moving into a neighborhood? What does “try to prevent him from moving in” mean? Where are they supposed to live? Just curious as to the rules for where sex offenders can and cannot live. Very interesting, that. I would assume that whenever a child predator is sentenced, his punishment and parole guidelines would be set, ie: must stay 1000 yards from schools, parks, etc. where children are known to be, cannot live in a home with a child, etc. and back in the 80’s they didn’t set such guidelines? Or are there set standards NOW for those things, hence the “grandfathered” comment.

    I think it’s very positive that our community is getting a lesson in child predators, and the laws that constrict – or don’t constrict them. This discussion is very valuable. Thanks Merritt!

  • D

    @kmom – Agreed. None of this adds up, and that answer adds to my feeling that the police still have many questions to answer.

    I also thought that this post from the DMN article adds to the story, and to the questions surrounding UPPD’s involvement:

    “This is my neighbors child and I want to report that the Chief quoted several inaccuracies. The boy is 9 years old, not 12. Robert Coleman came to their door – he did not talk with the parents at all about the child being a great sax player. The door was opened by a child, the child screamed very loudly upon seeing him, the kids were already terrified of him, and when the child’s Dad came to the door, Robert Coleman left the DVD and ran. I am curious where Captain Holmes got the inaccurate info. He should report correctly. This has victimized two families on our block severely. This man is a monster. My heart goes out to these families and all the families that he has harmed. I am sure there are MANY more victims out there that have been afraid to come forward. Perhaps this recent press might give them the courage. This is shameful!”

  • Another DMN comment….

    mewkins

    12:30 PM on December 3, 2010
    What about Section 21.15 of the TX Penal Code -Improper Photography or Visual Recording?

    A violation is a sex crime and State Jail Felony. It’s too hard to prove intent I guess.

  • BM

    Check out Pueblo Colorado Police Department’s web site on the “Community notification” on the sex offenders living there. Nice job!

  • LJ

    Like many other parents I am extremely concerned about a dangerous predator living more or less anonymously in our neighborhood but I am more upset by the offhand response from the police (as reported in the PC People). I think a more considered and thorough response is needed from our police department. How about a plan to keep this from happening again so that other predators don’t “fall off the radar”? No disrespect intended, but I think there is an opportunity for improvement here that shouldn’t be wasted.

  • M. Raudry

    I hope this predator has been taken care of – or better yet, that he has passed away and the children within his reach are safe. And to those of you that suffered due to his bile conduct – I pray for you. This man has been protected since the 70’s and those that swept it under the carper due to his connections – how can you live with this knowledge and sleep at night…

  • Neighbor on Bryn Mawr

    Today Robert Coleman still lives on Bryn Mawr Drive. He is rarely seen and we think is actually living somewhere else most of the time. Lights are never on and there are only sightings every few months. When we see him at the UP Pool or at a park we take a photo with our cell phone and we call the UP Police. They then pay him a visit. More people need to know who he is and confront him when he is at the park alone watching sports practices or going to the snack bar at the pool. Zebras don’t change their stripes.

  • XT

    Wow. He is going to the pool, parks, etc.

    It seems like the police’s hands are tied, but somebody has to get rid of this monster.

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