People speak out on sex offender law

By: Gene Petriello Email
By: Gene Petriello Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, Sept. 5, 2007

AIKEN CTY, S.C.---Some sex offenders living in Aiken County may have less than 2 weeks until they are forced to move. News 12 talked to some of you to see what you'd like the new law to include.

Last week we spoke with Dean Monarch a registered sex offender in Aiken. He wants to see the proposed Aiken County ordinance to include a category describing the offenders risk of repeating an offense. Today, we took that concern and others straight to the public.

Melissa Harris lives in Aiken County with her three kids. Two of them are school-aged. There's a bus stop in front of her house and that's not all. Watching TV three weeks ago, she saw this: "All the sudden his face was flashed up and I said, oh my gosh, we've already made friends with this neighbor."

It's one vote away -- Aiken County's new sex offender ordinance. It boils down to this: no sex offender living within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, school, park or church. More detail is what Melissa wants on the registry's website.

"As far as what each offense is and a little more descriptive and whether or not these people are bad people."

Dean Monarch is a registered sex offender in Aiken County. He wants a degree system added to Aiken's proposed law. Melissa is on his side.

"I've only really checked into them recently and I don't know what is what."

Tracy Brown - a mother of a 10 month old and a 2 year old - doesn't think a degree system would help at all.

"A sex offender is a sex offender regardless of the degree."

Aiken County is modeling its ordinance to Georgia's new law. Susan Fritts lives in Richmond County. She thinks the Georgia law is working, but only to an extent.

"Everyday you hear about somebody being in a place where they are not supposed to be. Or they are not in the place where they are supposed to be."

Aiken County checks on sex offenders twice a year or every 90 days if they are designated as a predator by the state prison system.

That's not enough for Susan.

"I would say probably every 30 days depending on the situation."

Tracy thinks people can help each other by coming together to find out who is living in the area and if a sex offender is living nearby.

The proposal will be up for final approval on September 18th. If it passes, it will officially become a law in Aiken County.


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