Residents alarmed to find apartment manager is sex offender

CHEHALIS, Wash. -- Residents of a Chehalis apartment house are alarmed after learning their manager is a registered sex offender.

Robert Strickland told us what he did was a one-time mistake, but still, many residents want him gone.

Strickland spent time in prison for child rape. The victim was a teenaged boy.

"That ain't cool," said tenant Matthew Logan. "Not at all. I don't like that. I have my little brothers over here and stuff."

Strickland doesn't live in these apartments, but he comes around to collect rent and does light maintenance. The tenants were never told about his sex offender status.

"You know, I just learned about that and that does bother me," said tenant Kevin Eubanks. "There are some kids up here."

The apartment house is located right in the shadow of the Lewis County courthouse where in 2008 Strickland pled guilty to child rape. Police say Strickland was the live-in manager of a halfway house and lured young teenaged boys in. He spent time in prison and was released three years ago.

"I made a horrible mistake and I'm sorry for it," Strickland said Friday through a closed door. "But do I have to suffer for it for the rest of my life?"

"I'm not going to hurt anybody," continued Strickland. "I made a one-time mistake in my life. Other than that I've been a good person. Can't you understand that I made a horrible mistake and I am truly sorry for it and leave me in peace?"

Strickland was hiding in the apartment of Greg Herriges who said, "I do not see him as a threat to my daughter. He is a man who made a mistake and he regrets it and he's learned from it."

The state Department of Corrections says Strickland is under their supervision and hasn't broken any laws. But some tenants want him out. Annalee Adams has two young boys and said, "If they bring in somebody new that's not a child molester that would be great. But, they need to get rid of him."

So far we've been unable to get comment from the apartment house owner, Don Portnoy, despite several attempts.