Bill would split up sex offenders

Published 5:28 pm Friday, December 9, 2011

Campers housing convicted sex offenders can be seen behind the under-construction Triumph Church, off Enterprise Road south of Clanton.

Sex offenders living together at the same residence in Chilton County could be the catalyst for a statewide law banning such arrangements.

In the past year and a half, 23 people convicted of sex crimes have been released to the same address, 40 County Road 374 off Enterprise Road south of Clanton, according to information provided by C.J. Robinson with District Attorney Randall Houston’s office.

Nine of the registered sex offenders were living at the address as of Thursday morning, according to Chilton County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Erric Price, who is responsible for keeping track of sex offenders.

State Rep. Kurt Wallace said he plans to file a bill that would place a limit on how close such people could live, effectively outlawing them from locating to the same residence unless it were a treatment facility and the sex offenders were under supervised care.

“I’ve talked with several other representatives, and they said they would sign onto it, too,” Wallace said. “I don’t think [the situation in Chilton County] is a good thing.”

Wallace said he plans to pre-file a bill before the state Legislature reconvenes in February 2012.

The owner of the property at County Road 374 declined to comment Friday. The registered sex offenders apparently are housed in campers behind Triumph Church, which is under construction.

Two residents in the area interviewed Thursday expressed concern about the situation but did not want to be quoted for this story.

Convicted sex offenders must notify the state about where they plan to live once they are out of custody.

“I began noticing the same address listed for offender after offender,” Robinson said. “This is not a licensed halfway house, nor am I aware of any type of specialized training that someone can give to rehabilitate a sex offender. This is a serious problem facing our community.”

Robinson said he received notice about 23 sex offenders being released to 40 County Road 374 from August 2010 through October 2011.

None of the men were arrested for crimes committed in Chilton County, according to Robinson’s information. The crimes include rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, assault with intent to ravish, aggravated sexual battery, and attempted rape; and the given ages of victims range from 4 to 29.

There is also a listed relationship between the sex offender and the person the offender is being released to. These relationships include clergy, manager, halfway house and friend.

Price said sheriff’s department officers have been called to the residence on at least a couple occasions because of fights between residents of the same address but that no crimes have been reported by neighbors.

“We’ve also gotten multiple calls from neighbors about them walking up and down the streets, knocking on doors and looking for work,” Price said.