Confused for a sex offender

Confused for a sex offender »Play Video
BENTON COUNTY, Wash. -- The media shares photos of sex offenders so you can know when risky people are living near your home or work or your child's school.

But the recent release of a sex offender's photo is now causing trouble for a complete stranger. A Benton County woman says her husband is being mistaken for a Level 3 sex offender.

"For crying out loud, the article gave you the address, gave you the block," said Kristen Daniel. "To make an assumption and to not even know where you are on the street?"

She can't make sense of it. Her husband is being confused for Steven Baird.

Baird is a Level 3 sex offender. Kristen's husband is not.

She didn't want to share her husband's photo and add to the confusion. We weren't allowed to see photos of him, either, so we can't speak to the resemblance.

When we spoke to Kristen's husband, he said he's seen Baird in person and thinks they only resemble each other from the back. That hasn't stopped neighbors around Rancho Reata from drawing the wrong conclusion.

"They see the picture and Bermuda Street or something, and they don't read the fine print," Kristen said.

Baird is a Level 3 sex offender convicted of child rape. Recently, he was in trouble for failing to register his address. When he finally did, it was on Kristen's street.

Jennifer O'Mara lives with Kristen and her husband. Their home is more than a mile away from Baird's address.

"Yeah, he's a little nervous, we're all a little nervous about everything," she said. "It's not good, not good at all."

Jennifer says they can't even garden in their front yard. Neighbors are slowing down as they go by - even taking pictures of her roommate as he's getting the mail. They worry the photos will be paired incorrectly with Baird's information, ruining his life.

It's gotten so bad now that police are involved. The family fears for their safety and just wants to know how they can be protected.

They are taking a proactive stance just in case the harassment escalates to something more. Kristen says deputies are sympathetic but are limited on the action they can take.

"You really have to back off, because we've done nothing wrong," she said.

They're hoping to find a little peace.

Steven Baird wears an ankle monitor to be tracked by the sheriff's department. He is in compliance and is not listed as "wanted."