High-risk sex offender arrested after exposing himself to two unsuspecting middle school students in Madera

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The corner of 5th and M Street is an intersection kids often pass to get to Thomas Jefferson Middle School. For the past several weeks, police say a high risk sexual offender stood in his front yard, waiting for unsuspecting students.

"Being that close I had no idea that we had a sex offender here. So totally shocked," said Danny Furtado who lives a few doors down.

Police say the suspect is 48-year-old Richard Cuellar. He has two prior convictions for annoying or molesting minors. This week, two young girls reported him to a school resource officer for doing the same thing.

"It actually occurred on several occasions. Some of the occasions we observed him what appeared to be masturbating, one occasion he actually exposed his genitalia," said Cpl. Chris Anaya with Madera Police.

Families say they had no idea Cuellar lived next door. It's why the Madera Police Department is using this arrest to remind parents they need to be proactive. Megan's Law provides a database for information on sex offenders.

"It's a very good possibility I start looking at faces, because I recognize that face. I don't know who he is, but I know he lives real close to us," said Furtado.

According to Megan's Law, Cuellar was convicted in 2000. He was then released two years later. Officers say it's unclear if he's exposed himself to others.

"I would just advise parents to have open communication with their children. Just advise them what to keep an eye out for when they walk to and from school so they are not victimized," said Cpl. Ananya

Cuellar faces charges of indecent exposure as well as annoying or molesting a minor.

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