Newton wants to restore NC sex offender rules

Posted June 16

— After a federal judge struck down part of North Carolina's law restricting the activities of registered sex offenders, Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, on Thursday rolled out a new version of the law he said would address the judge's concerns.

Newton said the "Jessica Lunsford Act Restoration" would be addressed in committee both Thursday and next week to give people time to comment on it and lawmakers a chance to refine it before heading to the Senate floor.

U.S. District Judge James Beaty in December ruled that part of a 2008 state law violated the rights of registered sex offenders because it was too vague. He ordered district attorneys statewide not to enforce the provision that prohibited sex offenders from "any place where minors gather for regularly scheduled educational, recreational, or social programs."

Newton, the Republican candidate for attorney general, twice criticized the efforts of Attorney General Roy Cooper, the Democratic candidate for governor, for his office's defense of the law.

"Our attorney general has dropped the ball on another issue," Newton said in a news conference. "Attorney General Cooper and his office was not doing a good job defending the case, and we had to do something to keep our children safe from these dangerous sex offenders."

The new legislation would provide examples of locations where sex offenders couldn't go, such as arcades, swimming pools and amusement parks, and put the restriction in place whenever minors are present. It also would bar sex offenders from going within 300 feet of areas in shopping centers and other public places that are "intended primarily for the use, care, or supervision of minors" if the offender's crime involved anyone under 18 and the person is considered a threat to minors.

"There's nothing more important than keeping our children safe and out of the reach of dangerous sex offenders and child molesters," Newton said.

Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, said attorneys in the office have appealed Beaty's ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and "are continuing to fight to uphold tough laws against sex offenders."

Jessica Lunsford, who was born in Gaston County, was 9 when she was abducted, raped and killed by a sex offender who lived near her Florida home.


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  • Will Allen Jun 17, 3:37 p.m.
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    : Exactly right. People who are actually serious about preventing sex crimes or protecting children do not support the Sex Offender Registries and especially not any of the useless, idiotic laws that have grown from them. People who do support the Registries are child abusers in that they are stealing resources that could actually be used to protect children and they are harming millions of children negatively affected by the Registries. Buck Newton is a child abuser.

  • Will Allen Jun 17, 3:33 p.m.
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    Wow, we need to call these politicians out on their un-American "sex offender" witch hunt. Any informed, intelligent person who supports the Sex Offender Registry is disgraceful, immoral, and un-American.

    I think old, un-American Buck Newton is just trying to get himself elected. What a disgrace! No American can support him and he deserves to lose.

    Voters should ask Buck Newton why he wants people who have shot children with guns in schools to be around those schools, parks, etc. Why does he want that? So they can get a better shot next time? I guess his "sex offender" ideas aren't really for "public safety", "protecting children", or any of those other lies he spouts.

    Also, Newton calls people "sex offenders". Therefore, all of us can legitimately call him "liar" or any other label that reflects any behavior that he has done in the past. What else can we call him? Anyone know? "Thief"? Probably. "Cheater"? Probably. What else?

  • Drew Savicki Jun 17, 2:35 p.m.
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    There are many people on the sex offender registry that don't belong there. For instance streaking in public can land you on the list.

  • Shelly Stow Jun 17, 10:14 a.m.
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    Does anyone do any research before proposing these sorts of bans? There is not a shred of evidence that validates the effectiveness of such measures. The risk to children for s3xual harm does not come from some random stranger, be he a registered citizen or not, in a public venue. It comes from those people close to the children in their lives and more often than not in their own homes. Resources would be much more wisely expended in comprehensive programs of education and prevention required in all the schools in the state. If politicians really want to protect children rather than just look tough on crime and win brownie points by playing the s3x offender card, that is what they would push for.

  • Juliet Jarvis Jun 16, 1:23 p.m.
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    My thought exactly Robbie. The title of this article is also misleading and should be "Newton is submitting changes to a flawed law written by legislators that didn't pass muster in court."

  • Jim Williams Jun 16, 1:22 p.m.
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    LOL, Sen. Newton needs to educate himself. Most of the people on the SO registry are not there because of offenses against children. One of the most common misunderstandings is that all people on the registry are pedophiles. But the registry does make a lot of people unemployable and puts them on food stamps and in public housing.

    What they need to do is have a tiered system and separate the offenders by felony versus misdemeanor, and by pedophile versus non-pedophile.

    Then LE could truly concentrate on the bad guys and quit chasing people convicted, of non-violent misdemeanors whose offenses did not involve children.

  • Robbie Beck Jun 16, 11:15 a.m.
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    Sounds like an attorney general candidate who doesn't actually understand the duties of an attorney general.