Residents shocked to learn sex offenders live nearby

By: Gene Petriello Email
By: Gene Petriello Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, August 29, 2007

AIKEN CTY, S.C.---A new sex offender ordinance is one vote away from becoming law in Aiken County. News 12 went to find out where registered offenders live and talk to some neighbors.

What we found out was shocking to all. Everyone we talked to was unaware that a sex offender was living near them. It came as a surprise to people sweeping their front porch this morning, who just want to protect their loved ones.

"It's a strong possibility it'll happen again so it's best to just keep them away," says Dorothy Cheatham.

Cheatham and her 11-year-old son just moved into their Aiken home a month ago. She didn't know a sex offender lived on her street until we told her.

"It's scary because you know having a child you don't expect this to be in your neighborhood."

Now, Aiken County is looking into a law that would restrict where convicted sex offenders live.

Trying to make the proposed law more manageable and enforceable, Sheriff Michael Hunt made some changes.

Now, it would prevent registered sex offenders from living or being employed within 1,000 feet of any child care facility, church, school or park.

Before the proposed law banned offenders from hanging out where kids spend time, like malls and restaurants.

"If I go somewhere, I'm going to take my nephew with me. I'm not going to let him go to a park all by himself like that," says Aiken resident Lynwood Priester.

That's because registered offender Ellis Birt lives on Laurens Street, right down the road from Lynwood Preister and a Boys and Girls Club.

Convicted sex offender Dean Monarch lives near Dorothy and her son. She is going to be much more aware of what is going on. But she knows she can't be there all the time.

"I can't just say, oh let's leave the screen door open anymore, even though you want to because this is a beautiful area."

You can click In Plain Sight on the top of our homepage to search both the Georgia and South Carolina Sex Offender Registries.

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  • by LAQUITA HINES Location: HEPH MCBEAN on Dec 20, 2007 at 03:24 PM
  • by Matthew Location: Hephzibah on Sep 5, 2007 at 04:42 AM
    If sex offenders are going to be limited as to where they can live, then all criminal offenders should be limited as to where they can live and work. Bank robbers shouldn't be able to live or work within 1000 ft of anywhere that money is kept, murders and assault offenders within 1000 ft of where another person lives or works. Where will it end? The criminal justice system is designed to levy a sentence in order for a criminal to serve his (or her) time for their offense against humanity. Probationary periods are set up for after their incarceration and any infraction of that probation lands them right back in jail, no questions asked in most cases. Once that time has been served, they are free men/women once more with no further debt to society. Sex offenders should be given the same benefit of the justice system. Once their time has been paid, both in jail and during probation, they should be just as free as any other criminal. If we really want to limit them, leave them in jail.
  • by Location: Aiken on Aug 29, 2007 at 11:40 PM
    There should be a limit on where children can live, as well. Children living near major roadways, highways, and intersections are at risk of death and molestation. Children should live in protected communities. They are noisy and should not live near senior citizen communities. They should not live near night clubs and bars. They should not live near jails or rehabs. There are no kids in my community and I am well aware of the sex offenders in Aiken. The roads where I live have sink holes that could easily kill and bury them alive. Aiken needs to look into planning family and other communities separating the kids from those who really hate living around them or who are not to allowed around them.
  • by monarawleigh Location: southaugusta on Aug 29, 2007 at 07:50 PM
    You also should know that if you need home repairs be careful who you hire. I needed repair to my fence and called a # in the phonebook, then my daughter suggested I look at the sex offenders in Richmond cty, because I am new to a computer, and guess what, the man that gave me an estimate is on the sex offenders list. Now, what would of happened if I had small children and asked this person [I am being nice.] to do the work?
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