HB1059 may force stay-at-home dad to move away from family

By: Kate Tillotson
By: Kate Tillotson

The part of a new Georgia law keeping sex offenders far away from school bus stops is under legal challenge.

If it holds up, a majority of Richmond County's sex offenders have to move.

His kids may not know it yet, but within one week, their father and stay-at-home dad could be packing his bags.

Tucked away on a dirt road in Richmond County is a man who admittedly broke the law. He has asked to remain anonymous.

"Some of us make mistakes," he says. "Quite a few of us are natural mistakes. But, you know, we can only do so much."

He's a husband, father, and registered sex offender.

Convicted of statutory rape six years ago, he had consensual sex with a fifteen-year-old girl who, unbeknownst to him, had used a fake ID at an Augusta bar.

Still on probation and unable to find work, he pays for his crime every day.

"It's very difficult," he says. "There's oftentimes, often nights that me and my wife, we don't know what we're going to do...and we have cried about it."

Their most recent tears are in response to House Bill 1059...a law making it even tougher on his family. It would ban him from living within 1000 feet of where children congregate, and, yes, he would have to move.

"Most of the reaction is just 'Where can I go?'" says Inv. Ron Sylvester of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

It's a frustration Inv. Sylvester hears over and over again. "There's a number of our sex offenders with the same problem he's having."

"We're not allowed to work within these requirements. I mean, we're not allowed to live within these requirements. How is it that they expect us to survive on the outside in the world? I mean, how are we going to pay our bills if we can't get a job?"

For three years, he's learned how to live as a liability.

But the idea of moving away from his family...well, that's something he says he just can't live without.

This sex offender fears he may have to move into the industrial district of Augusta, away from playgrounds and schools.

He refuses to move his family there, so if he has to, he says he'll move alone.

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