Thursday, February 20, 2014
A recent case in which a parent volunteer at a local high school was found to be a registered sex offender has raised some concerns about the safety of our children.
There are 139 registered sex offenders in Georgetown County, and 13 are living within two miles of our four local high schools, according to the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office website.
Although Carvers Bay High has no sex offenders within a two-mile radius, there are two living near Georgetown High, three living near Andrews High, and eight living near Waccamaw High.
Sex offender charges
Of course, there are a wide range of charges that qualify for the South Carolina Sex Offenders Registry, some not involving children.
According to state law from the South Carolina Legislature Online website (www.scstatehouse.gov), these charges include:
criminal sexual conduct
criminal sexual conduct with minors
engaging a child for sexual performance
producing, directing, or promoting sexual performance by a child
trafficking in persons
Sex offender responsibilities
According to state law, the offender shall register with the sheriff of each county in which he resides, owns real property, is employed, or attends, is enrolled, volunteers, interns, or carries on a vocation at any public or private school, including, but not limited to, a secondary school, adult education school, college or university, and any vocational, technical, or occupational school. To register, the offender must provide information as prescribed by SLED.
A person required to register pursuant to this article is required to register biannually for life — each year during the month of his birthday and again during the sixth month following his birth month.
The person required to register shall register and must reregister at the sheriff’s department in each county where he resides, owns real property, is employed, or attends any public or private school.
A person determined by a court to be a sexually violent predator pursuant to state law is required to verify registration and be photographed every 90 days by the sheriff’s department in the county in which he resides unless the person is committed to the custody of the State, and verification will be held in abeyance until his release.
Responsibilities of schools and school districts
According to state law, “each school district of this State shall perform a National Sex Offender Registry check on all district employees hired to serve in any capacity in a public school and all volunteers who work in a school on an interim or regular basis as mentors, coaches, or any other capacity, or volunteers who serve as student chaperones or any other capacity having direct interaction with students.
“The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, working with the Department of Education, shall provide training to appropriate district personnel on the appropriate uses of the database.
By Aug. 1, 2010, the district board of trustees (school board) shall adopt a written policy that specifies the sex offender registry check as well as how information received from the search impacts hiring decisions. The policy must include, at a minimum, a prohibition of hiring individuals required to register as sex offenders pursuant to Section 23-3-430.”
Visit www.gcsheriff.org to search for registered sex offenders in your area.