Convicted sex offender responds after being arrested near play area

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A McDonald's playground is the last place a convicted offender should have been. But that's where police say two sex offenders were arrested on Saturday.

Robert Collier, 26, and Morris Johnson, 51, are both accused of watching kids at a Raleigh McDonald's, but Collier says he was just having lunch with a friend and didn't know Johnson was a sex offender.

Robert Collier (left) and Morris Johnson

"I never considered McDonald's to have a playground. I never looked at it like that, so," he said. "Even as a sex offender, I can eat. That's not in the rules, where I can't eat with a friend at a public restaurant."

Court records show Collier was sentenced on aggravated sexual battery and indecent exposure charges in July 2019. Police say Collier tried to force an 11-year-old to touch him inappropriately in the Macy's bathroom at Wolfchase Galleria in 2018.

Collier says he was innocent but pleaded guilty, because he could receive a suspended sentence with probation.

"That's why I pleaded guilty, because people like us in our situation have no other choice but to plead guilty."

A copy of Collier's probation order that was signed by a Shelby County judge states that he was "not likely again to engage in a criminal course of conduct."

"They're not violating me, because I explained to her I was just eating lunch. I don't know if it will be a violation or not until I have my court date."

He's due back in court on Wednesday, and he's out on a $3,000 bond.

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