A sex offender with a criminal past that covers four states is back behind bars in Sioux Falls, after police say he was hanging around Sioux Falls parks that were packed with kids.Police say there are a few reasons you might spot someone watching a park full of kids, such as parents checking up on a baby-sitter. If you have a weird feeling about it, police say it’s best to give them a call and have them check it out just in case.
Kenneth Dale Stark, 59, went before a judge Friday. He was arrested Thursday for being a sex offender loitering in a safety zone. Stark is also charged with his 6th DUI and other misdemeanors.
Police say they spotted Stark at Whittier Park, sitting in a white van and watching the kids playing. At the time there were dozens of kids enjoying the park. It was actually parents who spotted the van the day before and tipped off police.
News that Kenneth Stark is accused of watching kids at local parks is disturbing for Linda Monhan a Sioux Falls grandma who’s often out with her granddaughter Macy.
“It kinda frightened me when I heard it was like 2 blocks away from my house,” Monhan said.
When parents noticed a white van sitting outside of a Sioux Falls park, they wrote down the license plate number and gave it to police. When police ran it, they found it belonged to Kenneth Dale Stark. He is a convicted sex offender not only in South Dakota, but also in Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa.
He has nine prior convictions at least one of those is for sexual assault of a child.
Sioux Falls police in uniforms but in an unmarked cars followed stark to Whittier Park and then to Meldrum Park. When stark spotted the officers in uniform, he took off, but police were able to catch up with him a short time later and arrested him on several charges including being a sex offender loitering in a safety zone. He’s now being held on a 25-thousand dollar cash bond.
For Linda Monhan, the arrest is a relief, but also a reminder of how watchful parents should be of suspicious activity.
“I’m usually out with her all the time and I usually watch out for things and see if there’s anything strange,” Monhan said.