Task Force Sells Free Sex Offender Registry
Posted April 25, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — Parents will do anything to protect their kids, especially from sexual predators. It is that fear a local man is capitalizing on. He is selling information about sex offenders that people can get for free.
The list is being sold through memberships to a newly formed Child Protection Taks Force. The founder said he has sold hundreds of them already.
It is not illegal, but the Attorney General says parents do not need to buy into it.
Like all parents, Don Stacy wants to protect his son, Gavin. That is why he and his wife, Carrie, paid $29.99 for a publication that listsevery registered sex offenderin their Raleigh zip code.
"Every parent that has a responsibility for a child, the last thing you ever want to hear about is that your child's been violated," said Stacy.
Information about registered sex offenders is available forfree on the Internet.
A state-sponsored Web site is updated with names and pictures twice a day.
Rob McWaters is selling the names on the sex offenders list to parents. The father of two and former truck driver founded the Child Protection Task Force, the group that publishes the list Stacy bought.
"People are paying for it, and they're paying for it now with the time and money they spend on the Internet, because the information changes twice a day and the average offender moves every six months," said McWaters.
That means the $30 list is outdated as soon as it is published.
For $95 a year, McWaters will mail customers daily updates. He calls it a public service.Attorney General Mike Easleycalls it a scam.
"It's not unusual to find people working scams by selling information that's free. They do that with Social Security, credit information, and this is just another of those type scams," said Easley.
McWaters say his task force is also lobbying for stricter laws to protect kids like Gavin.
Stacy thinks that is well worth the $30 he paid.
"I have just heard a lot of things, and I wouldn't want anything to happen to my child. I figured I'd donate the money now, and hopefully by the time he's school age, they'd have these bills passed that they're after," said Stacy.
You can find the sex offenders registry at theSBI's web site. Or you can write to theSBIat: S.B.I.Criminal Information Division407 N. Blount St.Raleigh, NC 2760
The cost is $4 if you pick up a copy at their office, or $8 if you have it mailed to you.