News 12 at Six o'clock, June 15, 2007.
Burke Co., GA---Georgia's tough sex offender laws are putting many on the move and what was once one county's problem is being pushed out to another.
Willie Binnicker moved out of the Augusta area 15 years ago and into a more a rural one in Burke County. "I wanted a little more peace and quiet," he said. He found that serenity on Del Rio Road in Hephzibah. "I like to have a few acres and not feel like I'm on top of anyone," said Binnicker. But that silence was broken when he learned about his new neighbor's past. "I'm upset about it because we keep three grandkids here everday," he said. That's because Robert Paul Chambers, a registered sex offender convicted of indecent acts on children under 16, now lives just a few doors down from where his grandchildren play. "It's news to us, my grandkids like to ride their bikes but that's gonna stop.
The Burke County Sheriff's Office says Chambers isn't the only one. Seven other registered sex offenders moved out of Richmond County and headed for their jurisdiction all because of the new sex offender laws that requires them to be at least 1000 feet from where children congregate. In a county with 834 square miles of open land, a simple solution for sex offenders is a mess for the sheriff's office. "It's bringing the problems to us," said Sgt. Annette Hodge. Before the law was passed last year, the county only had 32 registered sex offenders and now they've shot up to 54 and she says the numbers are only going to grow," said Hodge.
The sheriff's office says the way the numbers are climbing now, they're going to have to increase their staff just to keep up.