Georgia Sex Offender Registry
There is an article posted at The Economist about Sex Offender Registries. (HT to Andrew Sullivan) The feature has a dateline of Harlem, Georgia. The Columbia county town was the home of Oliver Hardy. It is also the home of Wendy Faye Whitaker.
Mrs. Whitaker is 5’3″ and weighs 350 pounds. When she was 17, they turned out the classroom lights to watch a video. A 15yo student said he would like a blow job. Mrs. Whitaker got caught, and now is on the Sex Offender Registry. She had to move from her house, and her husband lost his job as a dog catcher.
The article in the Economist had some delightful statistics. Over 647k americans are registered sex offenders. 17k are in Georgia. In 1994, congress required all states to have such a registry, or lose some federal funds. 13 states require registration for urinating in public.
Politicians love to be seen as tough on crime. RSO are a popular target, and the legislators compete to enact tougher laws. A few years ago, RSO were not allowed to live within 1000 feet of a school bus stop. That was thrown out by the court.
The concept of the sex offender registry is sound. There are, however, questions about the effectiveness and expense. The effect on offenders, many of whom have finished jail time and probation, is considerable.
After reading the article, PG decided to take a look at the Georgia Registry. Before you go, make sure you have plenty of time to spend. The GSOR has a strong search engine, and will give you all the RSO in your zip code. It will also show all offenders by county or by last name.
In PG’s zipcode is a hotel with 19 RSO. Evidently, the hotel is far enough from schools and churches to allow RSO to live there. It is across the street from a major IRS office.
A breakdown for this zipcode ( which is not typical of the overall state) shows 21 white, 16 black, 2 hispanic and 1 asian. All were males…while the story of Wendy Whitaker got the attention of the Economist, the overwhelming majority of the RSO are males. On this page, 3 were incarcerated, 2 had absconded, and 1 was homeless.
In 1994, PG was living in a duplex, with terrible people downstairs. There was a major controversy about dogs kept by these tenants, who were verbally abusive to PG. One night, PG heard a knock at the door, saw no one at his apartment, and looked at the front of the house. There was a Dekalb county welcome wagon in the driveway. Very soon, the husband was being taken off in handcuffs.
When PG looked at the SOR, he found his former neighbor quickly. The conviction listed on the SOR was 1998, or four years after the incident PG knew about. The Georgia SOR requires all offenders after July 1, 1996, to register.