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Posted: July 13, 2016

Church says no-go to ‘Pokemon Go'

Safety concerns are causing some to want the ability to "opt-out" of the game

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            Church says no-go to ‘Pokemon Go'
Sameer Uddin plays Pokemon Go on his smartphone outside of Nintendo's flagship store, July 11, 2016 in New York City. The success of Nintendo's new smartphone game, Pokemon Go, has sent shares of Nintendo soaring. 

By KIRO7 - Seattle

RENTON, Wash. —

A Renton, Washington, pastor wants to opt out of the new "Pokemon Go" game because of safety concerns.

Mark Kilcup is senior pastor of East Renton Community Church. He told KIRO 7 that cars have been loitering around the play structure behind his church on 156th Avenue Southeast since the popular game debuted last week. Tuesday morning, a pickup truck Kilcup didn’t recognize parked near the structure, so he snapped images of it on his cellphone and then confronted the driver. In cellphone video he shared with KIRO 7, Kilcup asked the driver “What are you up to?” The driver responded “We’re just playing 'Pokemon.'”

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“We are concerned about people we don’t know that are near our play set because the safety of these children is our No. 1 priority,” Kilcup said.

Kilcup said he called the Renton Police Department and the King County Sheriff’s Office -- not because he wanted anyone arrested for playing "Pokemon Go," but because he wanted to know if there was a way he could prevent the game from being played on church property.  He said both law enforcement agencies told him to take the issue up with staff at The Pokemon Company International’s office in Bellevue. So Kilcup drove to Pokemon’s office on 108th Avenue Northeast, where he said he was told to go, and was told the company’s legal department would be in touch.

So far, Kilcup said he has not received a response.

Meanwhile, "Pokemon Go" players continue to show up at the play structure.

“We would like to opt out of this "Pokemon Go" game,” Kilcup said, believing his request shouldn’t be a difficult one to honor. “They should have anticipated problems like this. They should have a team of people ready to resolve a conflict like this, if they’re a responsible gaming company.”

KIRO 7 has also contacted Pokemon and a representative from its media relations company, Triple Point, in San Francisco, for comment but has received no response so far.


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