Yet more problems are being alleged.
At what point does a registered sex offender actually own a home? In filings this week in federal court, Harlem resident Wendy Whitaker, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to defeat the restrictions, is asking a judge to issue a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office from kicking her out of a home she moved to in February.
Here’s why Ms. Whitaker is complaining:
In January 2006, she and her husband purchased the home, not knowing it was within 1,000 feet of a church with a day-care center, a fact that forced her to move. The couple moved across the border to South Carolina until the Georgia Supreme Court struck down the restrictions late last year. A revised law that took effect this month remedied that issue by exempting offenders who owned their home as of July 1, 2006, from the restrictions. But Whitaker’s name was not added to the deed until 2007. A sheriff investigator called her last week and told her she would have to move within 48 hours or face arrest. Offenders convicted of violating the restrictions can be sentenced to upward of 10 years in prison.