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Mecklenburg's 445 Registered Sex Offenders

You want diversity? You've got it. They don't come any more diverse than sex offenders. An analysis of the North Carolina sex offender registry system shows that convicted sex offenders live in every zip code in Mecklenburg County. Aside from being almost all male, sex offenders come in every race, size and shape. Some are in their early 20s. Others are pushing 70. As Mecklenburg County grows, so does its list of registered sex offenders. Since Creative Loafing last printed their names in July 2001, the number of registered sex offenders in Mecklenburg County has grown from 376 to 445. Of those, only 180 are under some sort of organized supervision associated with their probation or parole.

The list includes those convicted of taking indecent liberties with a minor, rape of a minor, incest, or crimes against adults ranging from sexual assault to rape. Some sex offenders have only one charge on their record. Others have rap sheets several pages long. Several have been convicted of victimizing both adults and children.

In 1996, Congress passed Megan's Law, named for seven-year-old Megan Kanka, who was raped and murdered by a man with two prior convictions for sexual attacks on children. The law requires that those convicted of certain sex-related crimes register their names and addresses with state and local authorities. The purpose of the registry law is not to punish sex offenders again for their crimes, but to provide the public easy access to centralized information about them -- information that is already part of the public record -- including their picture, what they were convicted of, and where they live.

When we published the sex offenders list two years ago, reaction was largely positive, but definitely mixed. Some readers felt we were intruding on the sex offenders' privacy and were, in effect, "punishing them twice." Other readers applauded us for caring enough about their children's, and their own, safety to risk alienating some readers by publishing the list. We held serious discussions about the issue here at CL; in the end, two things helped us decide to print an update of the list. One is the simple fact that we're merely reprinting what is already public information. This isn't top secret info; anyone can look it up on the web. But the deciding factor for us came down to a few readers' reactions to our 2001 list. We received nearly a dozen calls or letters from readers who thanked us profusely, some in tears, for alerting them to the fact that -- to cite a few cases -- "the guy down the street who's so friendly with kids" had a record of child molestation; or the next door neighbor "who stares at me a lot" has a couple of sexual assault convictions under his belt.

In North Carolina, the registration requirement applies to those convicted of a sex offense on or after January 1, 1996. Sex offenders' names remain in a public database for 10 years if they aren't convicted of a new crime. That 10-year period begins after they are released from prison or, if they weren't sentenced to prison, it begins immediately after conviction. If they move, they must inform the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's office of their new address.

The state's 7,419 sex offenders must re-register each year by returning a verification form mailed to their last reported address by the State Bureau of Investigation's Division of Criminal Information. Failure to re-register can result in felony charges. If convicted, another 10 years is automatically added to the original 10-year registration period.

Although it's not yet up and running, the sheriff's office will soon begin using a computer program called Sex Offender Automated Tracking System to help its staff keep track of sex offenders who fail to re-register or whose whereabouts are unknown. Since CL last published the county's sex offender list in 2001, over 50 sex offenders have been charged with failure to register.

The following lists are broken down by section of county and zip code. The listings include the sex offender's name, current address, date of conviction, and the crime committed.

Child Sex Offenders


SOUTH MECK

28273CHARLES NATHAN BERMAN 7926 Forest Pine Dr./2-23-99/Indecent liberty with a minor

DONALD RAY MELTON Unknown/5-18-91/Indecent liberty with a minor

ANTHONY PAUL SMITH 16337 Circle Green Dr./8-11-98/Indecent liberty with a minor

ALAN JEFFERY WHITESIDES 2120-J Yager Creek Dr./9-27-99/Indecent liberty with a minor


28278FRANKLIN BIRCHFIELD 10813 Shopton Road West/4-12-96/Indecent liberty with a minor

NICHOLAS JAMES CASTANAS 15650 Sprucewood Rd./12-13-95/Indecent liberty with a minor


28210CHRISTOPHER LYNN BROUGHTON 2807 Hinsdale St./3-6-00/Indecent liberty with a minor

ALLOPEZ CARR 1900 Beehtree Ct. Apt 11/10-31-96/Indecent liberty with a minor

CANDY ANN COOKE 8939 Sharonbrook Dr./12-15-98/Indecent liberty with a minor

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