Georgia sex offender to serve life for failing to register

By: Diane Cho Email
By: Diane Cho Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock, August 8, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Georgia's tough sex offender law restricts many places sex offenders are allowed to live. Now one man is serving a life in prison sentence for failing to register as sex offender.

From ABC News to the New York Times, a convicted Augusta sex offender is making national headlines after being sentenced to life for failing to register. "I don't think it's fair," said parent Ekyiena Lawrence.

Under Georgia law, sex offenders are required to give authorities an address within 72 hours of moving, but 40-year-old Larry Wayne Moore Jr. told a jury he couldn't because he was homeless. He says he was forced to sleep on the streets because of Georgia's strict sex offender laws that require them to be 1,000 feet away from where children may congregate. Since this was Moore's second offense for failing to register, it carries an automatic life sentence.

"He should've known the first time he had to register. I believe he knew what he was doing and I think he should get it," said Jennifer Lott.

Moore was convicted more than 10 years ago in North Carolina for indecent liberty with a child. Sgt. Ray Hardin says being homeless is no excuse. "They're not top notch citizens," he said.

But critics argue the law is too severe. Take for example South Carolina, where a first offense for failing to register is considered a misdemeanor, a second offense is also a misdemeanor requiring one year in prison, and a third offense is a felony given only five years.

Lawrence, a mother of two, says while she doesn't sympathize with Moore, she thinks the punishment doesn't fit the crime. "It's very steep. People don't get half the time for actually committing the sexual act, so why would he get it for not reporting he's a sex offender?"

Public Defender Sam Sibley plans to appeal Moore's case in court. He tells News 12 this case is an example of cruel and unusual punishment.

What do you think about Georgia's sex offender laws?

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  • by cynthia Location: augusta on Mar 27, 2008 at 04:30 PM
    i think they get what they deserve throw away the key because children dont deserve that nobody does
  • by Phil Location: Buckhead on Aug 24, 2007 at 04:20 AM
    (cont. from last message) I could give you examples all day but who really cares. The bottom line is that the registries do not protect anyone. Any person who is listed on a registry can setup any situation that they like to commit a sexual offense and the registries do not hinder them in the slightest. All the registries do is harass people who are just trying to get on with life. It doesn't affect the others. Oh yeah though, they also cost a fortune, promote a false sense of security, reduce the likelihood that people will do what is truly effective to reduce sexual offending, divert precious, limited resources and attention away from reducing sexual offending, create a class of people who don't care about being good citizens, put ALL citizens in more danger, and enable the idea that people on the registry are a class of people who regularly (and forever) can and should have their civil rights reduced and trampled upon. They truly are worse than just worthless.
  • by Phil Location: Buckhead on Aug 22, 2007 at 01:33 PM
    (cont. from last message) The registries wouldn't be such a bad thing if they were only used for information and for "public safety". But in reality, obviously, they are used for much more than that. Georgia uses them to force people from homes that they own and then arrests them for being homeless. How's that for public safety? Georgia uses them to approach people a decade after they have completed their legal prescribed sentences and for no legitimate, rational, defendable reasons at all, force them from the jobs that they need to support their families. Georgia has used them to force some people to live in over 10 different homes in just the past year alone. Yeah, I'm sure the geniuses think that helps "protect children". Liars. Or one of my favorites, the "adults" in my neighborhood use the registry to ostracize and harass my children and spouse on a continual basis. That is ongoing even though we've never interacted with them ever. (cont. in next message)
  • by Phil Location: Buckhead on Aug 22, 2007 at 10:10 AM
    kristin, I am a person listed on a sex offender registry and I will be honest with you. I don't care at all about the "humilation" of being listed on the registry. I am not a perfect person, I have made mistakes, and I'm not ashamed of that. I am completely confident that there are plently of perfect people who are not listed on registries who have made worse mistakes than I. I'll also tell you that the longer a person is on one of these registries, the less and less he/she cares about other people, what they think, or what they do. The registries positively make everyone registrant I have seen give less and less of damn about other people. I grow more and more hostile to other people just about every single day. The registry gives me an ever-present, increasing incentive to be the worst citizen I can be within the confines of the law. (cont. in next message)
  • by athena Location: augusta on Aug 16, 2007 at 03:50 PM
    I was in high school 10 years ago. Do you have any idea how many of my boyfriends could be sex offenders if my parents really knew what I was doing during "study group"? Let's use some sense when adding names to the sex offender list! Teenage puppy-love has been around forever and will never end!
  • by kristin Location: augusta on Aug 16, 2007 at 03:46 PM
    The scary part is...not all sex offenders have been caught. These people deliberately hurt others, obviously not afraid of prison...the sexual urge is too great. Is it possible that public humiliation (registering) could prevent them from hurting others again? I doubt it, but it is useful information for parents and women. I will never send my kids to the child molester's house to ask for a cup of milk, nor will I ask the rapist down the street to help move a large piece of furniture. Thank God for the sex offender list! Prevention is better than a cure.
  • by Bill Location: fla on Aug 16, 2007 at 03:39 PM
    You are probably correct that some have to register. Then there are others with Mark Foley syndrome that attacks all sex offenders to deflect attention away from themselves
  • by kristin Location: augusta on Aug 16, 2007 at 03:38 PM
    I am so glad sex offenders must register. I recently discovered that there are 7 sex offenders living within walking distance from my house. Some were charged with assaulting minors and others adults (rape). Now I do not let my kids roam the neighborhood as I once did, and I keep my distance from the men who assaulted women sexually. This information helps me to protect my children and even myself. Just watch America's Most Wanted, where perverted neighbors set their sights on a woman, rape, torture & kill her. If a woman is aware that there is a rapist down the street, she will not leave windows open or doors unlocked. What's wrong with authorities warning citizens that there is a person who has the potential to hurt them and their family? If they don't want to be humiliated by being on a pubically judgemental list, then they should have thought about that before they raped a woman or destroyed a child's life.
  • by charles Location: augusta on Aug 16, 2007 at 10:38 AM
    anyone who harms a child and steels their inocents deserves all the restriction we can lay on them and for some of you people who defend childmolesters with your comments led me to believe you have to register yourself...the only kinda people that would disagree with the tough laws on people that harm children would only be sex offenders
  • by Georgia's legislators are criminals Location: Brunswick, GA on Aug 13, 2007 at 10:22 AM
    The bottom line is that Georgia's legislators don't care about trying to reduce sexual offenses or protecting children. They are more interested in feel-good, look-good laws that everyone KNOWS damage society more than help. This next year is an election year. Watch the criminals while they pass yet more legislation that does nothing productive. They've already gotten at least one child killed, there will be more.
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