ARLINGTON, Va. - Residents at an apartment complex in Arlington are speaking out about their concerns after a registered sex offender living there set up an extensive Halloween display outside of their building.
John Ricca has been convicted on two separate occasions – a second-degree sexual assault on a child back in 1992 and then for enticing a child nearly seven years later. The 57-year-old said he spent 23 years in prison for these past convictions. However, he said he has done nothing wrong in putting up his decorations and he is proud of them.
“This is my neighborhood also,” said Ricca. “Who you spoke with, I don't know. Because all I've been is nice to everybody since I moved here. I haven't said a derogatory word to anyone. What do you want from me? I'm living my life now. I'm entitled to my life. I'm entitled to the rights afforded to me. I just can't possess handguns anymore."
But these neighbors believe putting up this type of display is inappropriate for a man who is a registered sex offender.
“He may be within his rights, but we are within our rights as taxpayers and longtime members of this community to protect the children in our community, especially on Halloween where some of the children in are a little bit older and unaccompanied, and they might very well be enticed by this over-the-top display,” a concerned resident told FOX 5. "It's very out of character with the way this neighborhood conducts itself."
She said no children live in this building and the Halloween display may attract trick-or-treaters and other unaccompanied kids from the neighborhood to go inside the apartment building.
Some residents also said they have contacted the Arlington County Police Department about Ricca and officers did come out to investigate because of his prior convictions. However, it was determined that Ricca's Halloween display was not breaking any laws.
"I'm doing everything right by the book," Ricca said. "I've built myself up from nothing. What these people have to say about me -- they don't know me. All they know is me sitting out here all day long saying hello to them."