July 26, 2013

In wake of murders, calls for sex offender registry to go private

7-26-2013 South Carolina:

At its heart, law enforcement agencies across the country say that the sex offender registry is a great resource when used. For example, when people are moving into a neighborhood, or perhaps if they have questions about a neighbor.

"The sex offender registry is a tool, and it's a tool for both law enforcement and the general public," said Lt. Michael Hildebrand with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office. "And just like every tool, when it is used properly, it's a good thing."

But Union County deputies said that registry was used as a tool for evil.

Jeremy and Christine Moody told authorities that they targeted Charles and Gretchen Parker, because Charles was on the sex offender registry, and they were gunning for more sex offenders on the list.

Deputies said the Moodys targeted Parker, claiming he was a "child molester", but authorities said the charge that made him a sex offender in South Carolina involved an adult. According to the sex offender registry, Parker also had another case that went back to 1991, but FOX Carolina has not been able to confirm details on that case.

"I wasn't at all surprised that it happened, unfortunately," said Brenda Jones, director of the group Reform of Sex Offender Laws.

The goal of Jones' organization is to limit public sex offender registries to law enforcement, schools, and only limit informing he public of sex offenders to a 'need to know' basis.

Jones said the murders of Charles and Gretchen Parker should serve as a wake-up call on why sex offenders need protection, and argued that if registries exist, they shouldn't show exact addresses. ..continued.. by Derek Dellinger

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