Tougher law against sex offenders starts today
Release date: 12/1/2006
Raleigh: A new law that starts today will help better protect communities from sex offenders, Attorney General Roy Cooper said Friday.
“These tougher laws protect our children from predators by helping law enforcement keep better track of convicted sex offenders,” said Cooper. “We’ll keep pushing to give law enforcement more tools to catch criminals who commit these crimes and put them behind bars.”
Under the new law backed by Cooper that starts December 1, sex offenders are required to register for a minimum of ten years but must remain on the Sex Offender Registry for life unless they are removed by the court. New sex offenders are barred from living within 1,000 feet of a school or childcare center. Offenders are also prohibited from working or volunteering where children are present.
In addition, offenders must now register with sheriffs every six months in person, rather than once a year by mail as the old law required, and must give advance notice if they plan to move to another state. The new law makes it a felony for someone to assist a sex offender in avoiding their duty to register and also directs the Department of Correction to track the worst offenders using global positioning satellite information.
During the last session of the General Assembly, Cooper worked closely with legislators to improve the NC Sex Offender Registry and toughen laws to protect communities from sex offenders. Cooper is continuing to work with the House Select Committee on Sex Offenders to toughen laws against child pornographers and add more State Bureau of Investigation experts to investigate online predators.
Cooper also won funding from legislators for a new sex offender registry website that is expected to launch in early 2007. The new site will allow people to sign up to get email alerts when a registered sex offender moves into their neighborhood or near their child’s school. The alerts will also link to maps so communities can pinpoint where a sex offender lives. Cooper shared a demonstration of the new site with legislators last week.
“A stronger Sex Offender Registry combined with better information for parents will help communities and families plan for their safety,” Cooper said.