State

GPS aided case against Modesto sex offender

A convicted sex offender's whereabouts were hardly a secret when he was stalking yet another victim, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Parolee Steven Edwards, 44, was wearing a GPS monitoring bracelet the whole time.

Edwards pleaded no contest to two felonies — lewd and lascivious acts and annoying or molesting a child with a prior conviction — after Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge John G. Whiteside offered him a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

Prosecutor Annette Rees said the case showed tax dollars spent on the tracking devices was money "well spent."

"Here is a case where the mandatory GPS tracking of sex offenders literally prevented further victimization and helped us put away a very scary individual," Rees said.

A 14-year-old Modesto girl testified in court that Edwards had sex with her from the time she was 7 or 8 years old until she was 11.

The girl testified from behind the hood of her sweat shirt throughout the preliminary hearing, recalling that Edwards began calling her in 2008 after he was paroled from prison on drug charges.

His previous sex convictions were misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and annoying or molesting a child in 2000.

Edwards told his victim about being at her school, watching her run track and said he knew which room in her grandmother's house was her bedroom, Rees said.

A parole officer pulled up data from Edwards' GPS unit, which confirmed he had been within 100 to 500 meters of the victim's home and school.

Edwards will be sentenced May 10.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at mbalassone@modbee.com or 578-2337.

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