TAMPA, Fla -- With Hillsborough County starting school this Friday, members of the Guardian Angels -- a nonprofit crime prevention organization -- will be warning parents about a man known as the "Hyde Park rapist."

Group members will patrol streets Friday as students are walking home from their first day of class.

Convicted rapist Bobby Joe Helms has lived on Ellicott Street in Tampa with his sister for the past three years. That's less than a block away from Middleton High School and less than a mile from Ferrell Middle School.

Helms served 13 years in prison after confessing to raping 12 Tampa-area women and attempting to rape four others in the 1980s.

He was released in 2009 and was sent back to prison multiple times for violations of probation.

He was first released in 2009, but landed back in prison two more times for raping a 15-year-old Clearwater girl and violating probation.

He was last released in 2015.

But if Helm’s is a registered sexual offender, then why is he allowed to live so close to a school?

Since the crimes were committed before restrictions were put in place, he’s allowed to live there. That’s according to the State Attorney’s office.

Currently, a sexual offender is prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of a school, child care facility, park, playground or any other place where children regularly congregate.

Helms is serving a court-ordered term of community monitoring under the authority of the Department of Corrections.

Here are the conditions of release for offender Bobby Joe Helms DC# 103912:

  • Report monthly to a probation office
  • Remain in a specified place, not changing residence or employment or leave county of residence without first procuring permission
  • No alcohol, or visiting places where alcohol is a primary source of income
  • A curfew of 10 p.m. – 6 a.m.
  • Deemed a sexual offender and fulfill all requirements of such: Participate in Sex Offender Treatment program, which includes a drug and alcohol evaluation.
  • No contact with victim(s), directly or indirectly
  • A prohibition of viewing, accessing, owning or possessing any obscene, pornographic or sexually stimulating visual or auditory material unless otherwise indicated in a treatment plan by a qualified practitioner
  • Submit to a warrantless search by a probation officer
  • Electronic monitoring

Tampa police spokesperson Steve Hagerty says Helms has been following the rules of his probation since he's been living near Middleton High School.

“I can tell you, part of our responsibly is that we have to make so many visits and we have,” says Hagerty. “He has done so and is complying with the rules of his probation.”

That’s news that makes parents living near him feel more at ease.

It's easy for you to check if sexual predators or offenders live near you. Click neighborhood search and put in your address. You can click each offender to see where they live and the crime they committed.

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