Sex offender has Cary neighborhood up in arms
Posted May 11, 2010 6:10 p.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2010 12:01 p.m. EDT
Cary, N.C. — Concern and debate is growing in the Brookstone Community in Cary about a registered sex offender who lives in the neighborhood.
The local community watch group has called a meeting for Saturday to address concerns about Stephen Colston, 42, who moved there several weeks ago with his girlfriend and her daughter.
"The point of the meeting is to give the community straight answers from law enforcement and (delete space) to make sure they have the facts of the situation," said Matt Slavis, a representative of the Brookstone Homeowners Association. "We want to make this a constructive process, instead of a destructive one."
According to Texas Department of Public Safety records Colston was sentenced Feb. 12, 1990 to 10 years in a Texas prison after pleading no contest to molesting a 4-year-old child in 1990 – a charge he says was a false accusation stemming from a dispute.
"I am not a sexual predator," he said Tuesday. "I just want to live my life. I was accused of something I didn't do."
He pleaded guilty at the urging of his attorney, who told him he would spend the rest of his life in prison if he did not.
The Brookstone neighborhood is divided. Some residents say they want to make Colston uncomfortable enough that he would move; others say he should be able to live there and be left alone as long as he obeys the law.
Cary police say the concerns must balance with Colston's rights.
"The community has an emotional reaction, which we perfectly understand," Lt. Stephen Fonke said. "We have to be absolutely mindful of the person's right to live where they want to live as long as it's within the letter of the law. If they're abiding by the law, then they have the right to live there."
North Carolina's sex offender law requires that anyone convicted of any sexual offense register in person with the local sheriff's office upon moving to a new residence. Colston, who has been in North Carolina for about six months, did register and is listed on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry.
Multiple residents in the Brookstone community refused to comment Tuesday about the situation, but 15-year-old Carson Varney said she believes neighbors should be cautious but not become hysterical.
"Just be aware, and as always, you just need to watch out for yourself and anyone else that you care about," Varney said.
According to the state's sex offender registry, there are 13 registered sex offenders in Cary.