Skip to comments.Church Off Limits for North Carolina Sex Offenders
Posted on 08/29/2009 9:14:11 AM PDT by Albion Wilde
A sex offender was shocked after being arrested for attending church. According to North Carolina law, a sex offender could be forced to serve 12 more years in prison for worship.
James Nichols was convicted of attempted rape and taking indecent liberties with a young girl. After serving a six year sentence, Nichols was released in September of 2008. Upon the release, Nichols began attending the Moncure Baptist Church in Chatham County, North Carolina. In March of the following year, he was arrested on the property owned by the church for being within 300 feet of a building with a nursery....
[SNIP] Unknown to Nichols, a law passed in December of 2008 prohibited him from attending church in the same building that housed the nursery for the congregation. The law also included schools, playgrounds, day cares and childrens museums....
(Excerpt) Read more at digitaljournal.com ...
And that, my friend, is one of the societal injustices imposed upon us in this modern age. Happily, these impositions don't always work. Depends upon the community and upon their resolve to protect themselves, the community and their women and children.
The predators love to hang out where there is fresh prey. I stand with the law on this one.
So he has to find a church where there are no children? Good luck with that. Sometimes the law goes overboard.
He registered with the police as a sex offender and informed the church pastor of his record. The pastor was apparently unaware of the law change so how did the police know he was there?
Sex offenders become second class citizens to a point beyond which what even normal felons become. Some of the things that get people lumped into that category are questionable, such as having a underage girlfriend, but that is not the case here. This man might actually be dangerous. While I hate to see anybody denied basic liberties, it seems prudent to keep a predator away from his prey.
I don't know why this guy is shocked... what part of stay the f*** away from children don't you understand?
That's the problem with sex offender registries. They've become such a "catch all" that nobody knows anymore if the people on them are actually dangerous. We have drunken public urinators and college skinny-dippers lumped together with serial rapists and child molesters. This guy was convicted of indecent liberties with a young girl. What are the details? Was he 45 and she 15? Or was he 19 and she 17? There's a difference.
I admit, it threw me at first, too. But on consideration, there are several issues.
First, we no longer live in rural communities where everyone knows everyone, and people arrive at church on foot or by horse. Today, someone can walk into the hubbub of an open church, snatch a child into a car and be almost a hundred miles away before the service is over.
Second, even though this man's past is known to his pastor, it is probably not known to every other parishioner. Many may see him as "that nice fellow who smiles at Sissy and Jimmy." If he were to have a slip-up, the children who are most accessible to him would be in his church or neighborhood. Since the pastor knows of his background, NOT informing the congregation would put the church at legal risk; however, informing the congregation also carries risks.
Third, I believe the problem of sex abuse of children has been multiplied exponentially in the past decades by the First Amendment cases legitimizing pornography, the spread of the Internet, the coarsening of broadcast and cable TV, the lowering of the age of majority from 21 to 18 and the "normalization" of "sex work" in many areas of the country. Down-and-dirty sex has become, for many, an entitlement rather than a sin, even among married couples. Our decades of liberal "rights"-oriented jurisprudence usually favors permission for adults, discounting or ignoring the need to protect vulnerable populations like children.
Thus, having an acknowledged sex offender in the congregation must be viewed as a "new challenge." Churches haven't worked all the way through this challenge yet. But in the meantime, this law is erring on the side of caution, viewing the needs of the children as more important.
Churches may eventually respond with an solution that will also serve the offender, such as a community 12-Step program with worship, pooling the needs of several congregations, but conducted off-site.
In many areas of law, there are competing interests. If someone's rights have to be abridged, better the known dangerous sex offender than the innocent child. There is also a much-abused and ignored right to freedom of worship, which having a known predator in one's midst would surely inhibit.
That said, this is a difficult area of law, because of the presumption in most cases that serving one's sentence should restore the community. This law appears to be based on the statistics of sex offender recidivism, and may not stand up to a challenge unless the order to stay away from children was a condition of parole, which the article does not say. We need more and better conservative legal minds to solve some of these Constitutional dilemmas before it is too late.
The article is written in the typically shallow, shoddy, unresearched and leftist-biased fashion we have come to expect. Let's take a look at the language in the article:
"A sex offender was shocked after being arrested for attending church. According to North Carolina law, a sex offender could be forced to serve 12 more years in prison for worship."
Typical "shock"-inducing lead-in. This is a subjective word that could have been supplied by a liberal reporter who is shocked that people don't want a sex offender around their children; or it could have been supplied by the formerly convicted sex offender or his attorney. It is a biased word that emphasizes his feelings over straight reportage of the facts, and his feelings over the feelings of the parents of the congregation.
Secondly, he was not "arrested for attending church" but for being too near children. Nor could he be "forced to serve 12 more years in prison" simply "for worship." That is ludicrously biased writing.
"Unknown to Nichols, a law passed in December of 2008 prohibited him from attending church in the same building that housed the nursery for the congregation."
Again, the reporter states a position favorable to the former offender as if it is a fact. But we do not know if it is a fact. He may well have been informed by his parole officer. He may not have. The pastor may or may not have known, as many pastors are more than willing to take the radical position these days. We do not know the facts; but we can see that the reporter has slanted the story by claiming that he did not know. How does the reporter know what was in his mind? What is the reporter's evidence?
The story may well be in the newspapers as a result of the civil rights lawyer's desire to build a groundswell of support for his client.
Since he is now 31 and served a 6-year sentence, he may have been in his early to mid-20s at the time of the offense.
This link gives a lot more detail of the legal pros and cons of the law as it stands:
N.C. sex offender gets arrested - for going to church: Law meant to protect children
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