Civil rights groups file lawsuit challenging Georgia's new sex offender law

By: Domonique Benn
By: Domonique Benn

A new Georgia law goes into effect July 1.

Supporters say it's designed to prevent repeat sex crimes against children...but now sex offenders are striking back.

Two local sex offenders are among several people who are suing the state in federal court.

These sex offenders say the law will leave them homeless.

The Southern Center for Human Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed a federal class-action lawsuit June 20 challenging Georgia's law designed to crack down on people convicted of sexually abusing children.

Wendy Whitaker of McDuffie County is one of the sex offenders named as a plaintiff. She is now 26 years old and has been married for six years.

But 10 years ago Whitaker was a 17-year-old high school student who engaged in a consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old boy on school property.

She was arrested and charged with sodomy, and she completed five years of probation.

Now registered as a sex offender, Whitaker, along with other sex offenders, has to move by July 1 to comply with the state's new law, which prohibits anyone on the registry from living within 1,000 feet of any bus stop in the state.

But people like Whitaker say they cannot find anywhere to live, and they fear many people on the registry will go homeless and be forced to sleep in parks, in cars, or in the woods.

They are asking a federal court to rule in their favor regarding the unfairness of the new law.

Click here to read the full text of the new law.

Click here to download a pdf version of the complaint.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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