Sex offender arrested for not moving to comply with new law

By: Domonique Benn
By: Domonique Benn

Part of Georgia's new sex offender law is still in effect, and that is the distance a sex offender can live from a church.

Since the new law went into effect July 1, Richmond County has already arrested one person who failed to comply.

Drake Winkler is principal of Southgate Christian School on Peach Orchard Road.

He never knew that 27-year-old sex offender Patrick Coker was living nearby.

"We definitely need to know these things," Winkler says.

a new Georgia law added July 1 prohibits sex offenders from living within 1000 feet of a church.

"You don't know what people will do, so it makes us have to beef up our security and be more on guard about who is walking around the streets or even on property," says Winkler.

Southgate Christian School is less than 1000 feet away from the house where Patrick Coker was living, and because of the sex offender distance requirement, deputies ordered Coker to move.

Richmond County sheriff's investigator run Sylvester says Coker failed to move and register his new address after the new law took effect.

"He was notified that he was required to move, and he failed to comply with that, so we issued a warrant," Inv. Sylvester says.

Drake Winkler says children often play on this playground at Southgate Christian.

"We're very uneasy, because you have to constantly watch them," Winkler says.

Violating the sex offender law could result in a minimum of ten years to a maximum of 30 years in prison.


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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