Ga. eases laws on sex offenders
Georgia has quietly peeled back its restrictions on sex offenders, due in part to a series of legal challenges.
Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation this year easing laws on about 13,000 registered sex offenders.
"The law changes have been a result of several lawsuits and challenges of the initial sex offender laws that were put into place," said lt. Colonel Dennis Parker who manages the sex offenders list for the Lee County Sheriff's Department.
The legal problem was the old laws signed in 2003 targeted all offenders even ones who committed crimes before 2003.
Gone are the restrictions banning those offenders from being 1,000 yards from schools, churches, and play grounds.
Advocates seeking reform of sex offender laws say this is a good thing.
"They have to prove to society that they can again be trusted. But once they can prove that then society needs to allow them to move forward with their life," said Kelly Piercy who heads Georgians for reform a group advocating reform to Georgia's sex offender laws.
Piercy, a registered sex offender, says the changes also allow people with misdemeanor sex offenses to apply for removal from the sex crimes registry.
"We tend to think sex offender and make the leap to child rapist murderer," said Piercy. "The majority of people that we refer to as sex offenders actually had non-contact offenses. They didn't talk to anybody, they didn't touch anybody. They defiantly didn't have any sex with anybody."