Local News

Kiosk stops sex offender from entering Raleigh school

Posted January 12, 2009 10:12 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— A convicted sex offender was being held Monday evening in the Wake County Jail after he tried to volunteer at a Raleigh high school. School officials credit a security system for stopping him before he could get close to students.

Registered sex offender Marcus Jermaine Johnson, 30, of 1703 Kayla Court in Raleigh, was on the campus Wednesday of Athens Drive High School, police said.

Johnson, an alum, wanted to volunteer at the school, Wake County Public School System spokesman Greg Thomas said. When he signed in by entering his name and date of birth, the school's LobbyGuard digital kiosk, however, flagged him as someone who was not supposed to be there.

“There are systems in place to then alert the facility instantly,” Thomas said.

As Johnson waited for his visitor’s badge to print, the kiosk notified school officials that he was a registered sex offender.

"It (LobbyGuard) immediately checks the national sex offender registry, and any red-flag lists that the school has put in place," Thomas said.

Once Johnson's information was identified as a match for a sex offender he was asked to leave the school.

On Friday, Raleigh police charged Johnson with being a sex offender unlawfully on the premises intended for the care of minors, Thomas said.

Johnson's father told WRAL News that his son, a former member of the Athens Drive High wrestling team, wanted to help the team and didn't intend to cause any harm.

LobbyGuard visitor management systems cost around $5,000 and are built by LobbyGuard Solutions LLC, 4700 Six Forks Road, Raleigh. The company has 700 installations across the United States.

"I am glad they (LobbyGuards) are there,” former student Laffenia Griffin said.

Griffin still has siblings at Athens High and said a background check process is needed.

"If he wasn't supposed to be here, he wasn't supposed to be here,” Griffin said.

Johnson was being held in the Wake County Jail under a $75,000 bond.

In 2005, Johnson was convicted of incest with a near relative, which is a second-degree sexual offense, and of statutory rape, in which he was at least 6 years older than the victim, in 1998, according to the North Carolina Department of Correction.

He was given probation for both convictions but served three months for violating his probation from the incest conviction. He was released on Dec. 25.

Johnson also has convictions for common-law robbery, larceny and assault on a policeman.