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  1. #1
    Terminator's Avatar
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    Question Sex offender can't worship due to state law - is this constitutional?

    James Nichols said he was flabbergasted when a Chatham County sheriff's deputy arrested him in March for a simple weekly activity -- going to church.
    Nichols, 31, had served six years in prison for indecent liberties with a teenage girl and attempted second-degree rape. He was released last September and started attending Moncure Baptist Church. He met with the pastor, disclosed his crimes and often sat in the front row for worship.
    But after the Chatham Sheriff's Office investigated an alleged sexual assault by another person in the church parking lot in March, Nichols was arrested because he was attending the church, which has a child-care facility on its premises.
    "Anyone in this world has a right to practice their religion, and whether they've made any mistake in their life, they should have the right," Nichols said.
    But a state law that took effect in December forbids registered sex offenders from being within 300 feet of a school, playground, day care or children's museum.
    "The law we passed doesn't let them go to church, because there are nurseries in churches," said state Rep. Verla Insko, D-Chapel Hill, the only legislator in the House and Senate to oppose the law.
    Nichols, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, is challenging the law in Chatham County. A coalition of social workers and psychologists who treat sex abusers have been fighting it in the General Assembly. Some think churches should play a key role in rehabilitating offenders.
    Proponents, though, want to keep sexual offenders away from children at all costs, even after they've finished their prison time.
    'Lost their rights'
    "As far as I'm concerned, they've lost all their rights -- to go to church ... to go to McDonald's to get a cheeseburger if they've got the slides," said state Sen. David Hoyle, the Gastonia Democrat who sponsored the law. "They have made that choice. They have imposed that on themselves. I didn't."
    Nichols' lawyer, Glenn Gerding, calls the law unconstitutional because it infringes on his client's freedom to exercise religion. He said the law applies even if an offender is merely sitting on a pew and no children are in the building.
    Katy Parker, North Carolina legal counsel for the ACLU, said her agency has taken about 50 phone calls from pastors and registered sex offenders since the law took effect. She said law enforcement officials have told pastors they can't allow sex offenders to attend church. She also has heard of offenders being arrested for exercising at a YMCA.
    Nichols appears to be one of the few offenders arrested for being on church grounds, though there clearly are other offenders attending worship. Eric Sipe, a sex-abuse therapist in Catawba County, said sheriff's departments vary in how they enforce the law.
    Nichols recently moved to Sanford, where he started attending Try Jesus Ministries. The church has children's programs, but Nichols said law officers are more understanding. Last weekend, he went with fellow church members on a retreat to Tennessee.
    "I go to church anytime I get a chance," said Nichols. "I believe in it. It helps me keep my mind on track. It helps me be a better person not just to myself but to someone else."
    Hoyle, the law sponsor, said he doesn't have a problem if pedophiles go to church, as long as there aren't children there.
    "It's a recipe for them to find victims," he said. "Find another church that they don't have a nursery. I'm sure there are a lot of churches that don't have nurseries."
    Gerding, Nichols' lawyer, argues that churches are precisely where offenders need to be. "Churches are often the last hope for many sex offenders who need the stability and guidance a church pastor and church family can provide," Gerding wrote in his motion.

  2. #2
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    He can worship all he wants. Just not at a place with children available to him.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
    "As far as I'm concerned, they've lost all their rights -- to go to church ... to go to McDonald's to get a cheeseburger if they've got the slides," said state Sen. David Hoyle, the Gastonia Democrat who sponsored the law. "They have made that choice. They have imposed that on themselves. I didn't."
    What .....a Democrat talking sense? It may snow today. It's my experience that pedophiles never get "rehabilitated". In my opinion Nichols is just looking for ways around the state law. I betcha he wasn't going to church when he committed his offenses. I'm not willing to sacrifice the safety of one child for his rights.
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  4. #4
    Terminator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain America View Post
    I'm not willing to sacrifice the safety of one child for his rights.
    Good point. I think that's the point and debate I was waiting for.

    You are okay with his constitutional rights being violated if it saves a child from possibly being molested?

  5. #5
    Captain America's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
    Good point. I think that's the point and debate I was waiting for.

    You are okay with his constitutional rights being violated if it saves a child from possibly being molested?

    I'm totally okay with it. I don't even consider it a right for him when it violates this particular statue. I consider it a forfeited right as a consequence of his past criminal history akin to a violent felon losing his/her right to possess a gun or vote. The good of the children should outweigh his individual rights on this issue.
    SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM

    "It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
    -Ex-Sheriff Martin Howe to Will Kane in "High Noon"

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  6. #6
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    His rights have been taken from him within the scope of due process. It is not like he is being singled out as an innocent individual. A jury of his peers did see fit to convict him. HIS choices and that conviction have consequences.

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  7. #7
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    I'm good with the law. Keep your peepee where it belongs and watch all the televangelists you want in your own perverted kingdom!
    I'm not ruining your life, you are, and I'm just going to write a short story about it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by deputysykes View Post
    I'm good with the law. Keep your peepee where it belongs and watch all the televangelists you want in your own perverted kingdom!
    That's a great point, honestly. Here, Sunday morning TV is back to back services from one church or another. A couple of the MegaChurches even have their services available to view on their website. I don't doubt that these places also have adult bible study in the evenings that he'd be welcome to attend. No need for him to be around kids at all.

    If he wants a burger, he should try Wendy's. No playgrounds at any I've ever seen, and a minor on the sign. I'm sure he'd be thrilled.

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  9. #9
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    He does not have to attend church to worship, so his rights are not being violated. So even apart from the reason he cannot attend a church, there's no problem with the law. The law doesn't let him worship in the way he chooses, but he gave up that when he was convicted of such heinous acts. Sorry about his luck. Oh wait........I'm NOT sorry. F*#@ him!
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  10. #10
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    I gotta agree with IndianaFuzz and you don't have to go to church to pray.


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  11. #11
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    I know how important church is to a lot of people, however, I don't think he realizes his alternatives. Every church I have been to has pastors willing to make house calls for those who can't make it out. Most churchs record/videotape services. There are plenty of other options.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 213th View Post
    I know how important church is to a lot of people, however, I don't think he realizes his alternatives. Every church I have been to has pastors willing to make house calls for those who can't make it out. Most churches record/videotape services. There are plenty of other options.
    That includes partaking of the sacrament, if your denomination does that. I know mine does.


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  13. #13
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    Not every church has a daycare or preschool. Go somewhere else.

  14. #14
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    In large cities, there are Gay churches... They may not have a daycare

    He still has the freedom to worship... He just can't go near a daycare. Those aren't mutually exclusive.

    He should either watch whoever replaced Rev Tilton on TV and worship at home, or find a church without a daycare.

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  15. #15
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    When he was released from prison he knew what the restrictions were. He chose to ignore them and now he cries that his "rights" are being violated? What about the child he violated!!!

    I have to agree that if he wants to go to church he should go to one that doesn't have daycare or go to services that are before or after daycare hours.

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  16. #16
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    Well, I looked, thought even with the story as written there might be an outside chance this is of those Romeo and Juliet cases where there's something to discuss. News under reported, guy has more hits than the Jackson 5, f*** him and the attorney he rode in on.

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    What about cases where it's two teenagers in a long term relationship (the Romeo & Juliet scenario) and the guy is convicted and has to register as a sex offender. Should he no longer be allowed to go to church with his family because they have a daycare or school?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
    What about cases where it's two teenagers in a long term relationship (the Romeo & Juliet scenario) and the guy is convicted and has to register as a sex offender. Should he no longer be allowed to go to church with his family because they have a daycare or school?
    This is a question for the judicial forums: www.formerlyacivilattorneynowi narobe.com {don't even try to go there, please}
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
    What about cases where it's two teenagers in a long term relationship (the Romeo & Juliet scenario) and the guy is convicted and has to register as a sex offender. Should he no longer be allowed to go to church with his family because they have a daycare or school?

    i like what you did here Term

    here the law says 16 is the age of consent. under 16, if there is over a four year difference its 2nd degree rape. so lets say we have an 18 year old guy and a 14 year old girl with birthdays one day apart (hes born 8/18/91, shes born 8/19/95 so they are 4 years and 1 day apart). they are in the same high school, hes a senior, shes a freshman, not uncommon (im willing to bet a lot of us dated freshman when we were seniors). they are both athletes, he plays soccer, she plays (girls) soccer but is athletically talented and is on the varsity squad so their paths cross a lot. they both have an elective class together...lets say home ec, or music, or some shit like that. they realize they have a lot in common and start dating. mom/dad of the girl go the police and have him charged. they continue to date anyway, and eventually get married, have children, and lead a normal life together. should he be a registered sex offender with all the restrictions placed on him that a stereotypical child molester gets. i dont think so. i think you have to look at these things on a case by case basis. blanket laws and restrictions are not always the best way to go about things.

    but as far as the turd in the original scenario goes...fuck him. get the bible on tape bitch
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  20. #20
    Terminator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tapout View Post
    here the law says 16 is the age of consent. under 16, if there is over a four year difference its 2nd degree rape. so lets say we have an 18 year old guy and a 14 year old girl with birthdays one day apart (hes born 8/18/91, shes born 8/19/95 so they are 4 years and 1 day apart). they are in the same high school, hes a senior, shes a freshman, not uncommon (im willing to bet a lot of us dated freshman when we were seniors).

    but as far as the turd in the original scenario goes...fuck him. get the bible on tape bitch
    In N.C. you could have a scenario of a 15 year old, and a 16 year old. Does that make him/her a sex offender or a normal teenager? Like you Tapout, a normal teen in my view.

    Here's the problem with blanket or zero tolerance laws. You run in to the Romeo & Juliet scenarios and there's no discretion for judges to make calls based on the individual case. So you end up with a 16 year old who is a sex offender for life and can't go to church with his family because the church has a daycare and he is a threat to the little kids??? These kinds of laws are bullshit and they ruin peoples lives!

 

 
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