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Convicted Sex Offenders Ask to Be Taken off Web Site

Posted May 25, 2007
Updated May 26, 2007

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— Four men on the list went before a Wake County judge Friday asking for their names to be removed.

One man, Michael Gathings, was successful even though he has admitted to having sex with a 7-year-old girl.

Gathings went to a Texas prison 15 years ago for having sex with the young girl he was babysitting.

Since moving to North Carolina, his picture has been listed on the sex offender registry for 10 years.

Last year, the North Carolina General Assembly made the law tougher last year. Instead of automatically allowing sex offenders off the registry after a minimum of 10 years, they must now prove to the court that they're deserving.

Gathings' attorney said his client went through therapy, got married, had a daughter of his own and won consistent promotions in his job.

After sorting through confusion over the status of a Texas conviction on North Carolina's law, Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner agreed to take Gathings off the registry.

“If it's somebody who has gone that extra potential mile and has led a life that shows that they're re-acclimated to society and reformed … maybe that person is deserving of the benefit of the doubt,” said Wake County Assistant District Attorney Adam Moyers. “But, they're going to have to come in and show it.”

Other offenders were not as successful.

“I just don't want my past to keep haunting me, haunting me. I don't want to go through this anymore,” said Shimel Draughon, a convicted sex offender.

Draughon, Lemuel Banks and Purvis Dunn all petitioned to get off the registry. But later charges such as assault on a female, drugs and failure to register led the judge to reject them.

Win or lose, the one thing petitioning the court didn't guarantee the men was anonymity.

“There is a certain degree of irony in that a person who's on the registry is seeking anonymity. And then, in order to get off they must face the media and the public,” said Brad Sahl, Gathings’ attorney.

Before the law changed, there was a window of time in 2006 when offenders were automatically taken off the list after 10 years. So far, at least three men have won their court petitions to be removed from the site.
Under the law, violent sex offenses warrant lifetime registration.


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  • TAO May 28, 2007

    I think that in light of this recent story about all these new sex offender laws, etc. this recent development is pretty significant:


  • richard2 May 27, 2007

    I don't get it. Does getting off the list mean it never happen and you are not sick and mean anymore? Does it mean you are safe to be around again? Is this how we protect our children?
    I still don't get it! We need better law makers.

  • COPs eye May 26, 2007

    All offenders regardless of race need to be segregated from society. Unfortunately we can not do this legally. The registry allows society to segregate these peopple in an informational way by informing us who some of the dirt bags are. The age of sexual consent in NC is 16, but how many people on this post allow their daughters to dress like popular music and tv stars and the hild is under 16. Parents are partially to blame for some of the incidents that occurr because they allow behaviors that lead to promiscuity. I am not making excuses for the sickos at all. If there is a RAPE then there is no question about my opinion of the punishment. Life in prison at least. Preferrably death. All I am saying is the list should be more informative with details of the crime and whom is involved and what happened. The only true name needed to be used is the offender. Listing a charge of indecent liberties with a child does not tell you exactly what the offender did. I feel it should tell us more.

  • Big Tarheel Fan May 26, 2007

    I don't think their names should be removed from the list. If anything I think anyone who is on the list should be branded with a BIG tatoo across the forhead that says sex offender. Then maybe that would make someone think twice before becomming a sex offender. I have no sympathy for anyone abusing someone sexually......

  • defender May 26, 2007

    I don't think they should be executed at the moment they are convicted of this atrocities. Then we wouldn't need a list.

  • CarolinaGirl25 May 26, 2007

    I think offenders should remain on the list indefinitly. Whose to say they wont try to harm another child in the future? I know I sure as heck would like to know who my neighbors are or were. I dont care if they commited the assault 20 years ago and havent done anything since. I still would like to know about it.

  • onyourheels2 May 26, 2007

    if he had sex with a 7 year old, why is he free?

  • illegals--GO HOME May 26, 2007

    claudnc....I agree with you, certain offenders should be allowed to be removed in say 5 yrs if no repeat offenses, but not in the case of a true rape or sexual offense with a child or another who is not willing ! ! ! Those rapists should remain on the list the rest of their lives. If you check the national statistics, rapists rarely ever reform completely, as most rapes are power/domination in nature or either sexual sadism, and less than 1% are ever reformed. So, if these offenders don't like their name being on a website or published....here is a suggestion, don't do anything to get on the list...clear and simple. If you rape you deserve whatever comes your way and it would not do to tell what I would like to do to your type of person!!!

  • spazman May 26, 2007


  • MommyBear May 26, 2007

    Maybe there should be different categories of sexual offenders listed, such as child molesters, rapists, or smaller crimes such as the mother providing birth control for the sexually active daughter. Still, if it was a sex offense then my personal belief is that they should ALWAY remain on the list until death! There is no reforming a child molester no matter how many self help classes he takes or how many doctors he talks to. They cannot change and will not. I agree that they should be as haunted for the rest of their lives (if only be public recognition) as the child they harmed is haunted for the rest of his/her life for the things that were done to them. I wonder if the judge in this case has a young child? I don't think the current punishments are strong enough. As far as I'm concerned, any man who rapes a child should be castrated. Thats the only sure fire way he won't do it again!