Sex Offenders Living with Minors, Part II

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Last week I wrote about the restrictions on living with minors applicable to sex offenders who are under supervision by the Department of Correction. I wrote in that post that supervised offenders whose crime involved the physical, mental, or sexual abuse of a minor will likely be subject to a condition of supervision preventing them from residing in the same household as a child. This post considers what restrictions apply when a registered offender’s formal supervision comes to an end.

The short answer is that the sex offender registration law does not expressly restrict with whom a registered offender may live. Several provisions placing restrictions on residency and employment may, however, come close in certain situations. (In discussing these provisions I’ll describe situations in which the registrant is male, but the laws apply equally to women.)

As for the residency restrictions, under G.S. 14-208.16, a registrant may not knowingly reside within 1,000 feet of the property on which any school or child care center is located. I have been asked if that provision might bar a registrant from living in a home with a home-schooled child or prevent an offender from residing with and caring for, for example, his girlfriend’s children. I don’t think it does. First, the law expressly excludes home schools (as defined in G.S. 115C-563) from its definition. Second, the law defines a “child care center” as an arrangement where three or more preschool-age children or nine or more school age children receive child care, but it excludes arrangements involving only children who reside where the care is provided. G.S. 110-86.

As for employment restrictions, I have been asked if the prohibitions on babysitting or participating in child-involved activities might prevent an offender from living with and looking after the children who reside there—be they his own or, in the example I mentioned before, his girlfriend’s. Again, in most circumstances I don’t think they would. Under G.S. 14-321.1, no adult may provide or offer to provide a “babysitting service” in a home where a registered offender resides. Babysitting is defined in that section as “providing, for profit, supervision or care for a child under the age of 13 years who is unrelated to the provider by blood, marriage, or adoption, for more than two hours per day while the child’s parents or guardian are not on the premises.” Most domestic arrangements would, I think, fall outside this definition of a for-profit babysitting service.

G.S. 14-208.17 raises a similar concern. Under subsection (a) of that law it is a Class F felony for a registrant to “work”—with or without compensation—at “any place where a minor is present and the person’s responsibilities or activities would include instruction, supervision, or care of a minor or minors.” In the typical home situation I don’t think a registrant looking after the children with whom he resides would qualify as “work” within the language of that statute—and I say that as a father of three boys who knows taking care of them isn’t always easy. It seems to me that the existence of the more specific rule against “babysitting” suggests that 14-208.17(a) was meant to cover jobs or volunteer work outside the home. Subsection (b) makes it unlawful for a person to accept a minor into his or her care knowing that someone who resides at the home is required to register.  But that portion of the law only includes situations where the minor is accepted “from another.” As such, I don’t think it would cover the minors who already reside in the home. There are no cases interpreting either subsection.

8 comments on “Sex Offenders Living with Minors, Part II

  1. Yeah, but I’m sure DSS would have something to say if there was a minor living there without a formal family safety plan

  2. I CANNOT understand why the law picks this subject apart and allows some risk…any risk. When an individual, male or female, molests or rapes one minor child and is convicted and required to register on the sex offenders’ registry, this individual has shown him/herself to have no regard for the life and welfare of a child…PERIOD! Secondly, it has never been proven that sex offenders can be CURED! Just because one has molested or raped once and HASN’T BEEN CAUGHT again doesn’t mean that he/she is cured, and a system that picks this issue apart and keeps supplying loopholes for these “thieves of innocence” is just as guilty of abuse as the abuser! Why take CHANCES on the hope that a sex offender will not offend again, risking the very lives of innocent, helpless children FOR WHAT??? For the “rights” of a sex offender? There should be no such rights, as once someone violates a minor child once any rights they had should be forfeited FOREVER…because that is how long the devastating, life altering affects haunt the victim!

    • I do agree that a person that has raped or molested a child should not be around children. Now…all sex offenders are not child molesters, a common misconception that can ruin people’s lives. My fiancée was young and dumb once, as I believe all men are at some point, and had intercourse with a girl he believed to be an adult. He failed to check her ID and she happened to be 15 years old. This was 15 years ago. Now, my ex-husband has obtained emergency custody of my 3 children, based mostly on the fact that my fiancée is a registered sex offender. My children are my world, and now he is doing great harm to the children by keeping them away from their mother. They were in no danger living with me and my fiancée. I am not the only person who has had to go through such tragedy because of ridiculous sex offender laws. And my kids living with us isn’t even against the law! People who rape children, and young people that have made a mistake by sleeping with an underage girl should not be lumped in the same category. Sadly, they are. I think you should reread this article. Also, sex offender DOES NOT always mean child rapist. In fact, most people on the registry did not rape a child.

    • @SherryBranch,

      Not everyone on the s.o.r. are child rapists. I’m sorry you were misinformed. Listen closer to the news, at times, channels like HLN will discuss further, that a vast number of registrants are simply people who urinated in public. They molested / raped nobody. Perhaps caught in the wrong place, where a magazine was nearby that featured underage victims. Or had the misfortune of downloading what they presumed was free p*rno, unwittingly featured underaged victims and found on their computer… even after they erased it but got caught and convicted in an FBI sting. Some are kids who made a stupid mistake… sending pics of themself to friends at school. No matter to you, but they’re all criminals under that pseudo-sexual-predator-list. They go on the S.O.R., for 10-30 years and their lives ruined.

      Unfortunately, people like you have been misinformed by radical television propaganda, erroneously believe everyone on that list are child-rapists, pedophiles and predators and nothing could be farther from the truth.

      Most true child molestors are not and never will be put on the list. Most molestors are known by their victims (family and friends of family – they had access to the children) all of whom incidentally, will probably never be reported or investigated. In fact, they will probably be protected by family and friends.

      When searching the registry, as I recently did to check out all the “sexual predators” in my area, the more I looked into the individual charges I was SCATHED when I realized I’d been lied to. To the untrained eye, is a frightening sight… so many “offenders” in such a small radius. At first. That is until you go searching deeper and learn that most aren’t even “predators”. Listed, only because they did some stupid petty crime that landed them on that registry… which is a waste of taxpayer money. One, like yourself would erroneously presume the list is a “Sexual Predator List,” but that is certainly what it is not.

      It isn’t protecting children from “predators”. It’s a list of people who urinated in public, or made the mistake of sending other kids pics of themselves and charged as a sex offender. The actual predators are obscured by petty “offenses”.

      It serves the purpose of wasting taxes, fearmongering, and can’t find the needle in the haystack… the actual predators amidst people who peed in public or kids who experimented with drugs and got stupid one night and sent scantily clad pics of themselves to classmates. These silly crimes are what is cluttering up the S.O.R. list with nonsense and frivolous listings, to where you can not and shall not know whom the actual “sexual predators” are in your area. They don’t tell what the offense are. You have to personally ask the police for that answer!

      All courtesy of big bureaucratic government creating laws without common sense for the foundation. Your tax money at work.

    • Understand what you saying. But everyone on the sex offender registry is not a child molester. People need to look up the law and see what is considered a sex offender. You could have to use the restroom real bad and be in a place where there isn’t one. And step behind a building out of anyone’s sight. And get caught and guess who will be considered a sex offender that’s right you will. And you never touched anyone. I have a friend that in 1987 he was 17 and the young lady was 14. They had consensual sex and he was put on the sex offender list and 27 years later he is still on there. He didn’t rape her or molest her. But his life had been ruined all these years. You can’t tell me the law is fair.

  3. Also, thank you Mr. Markham. This gives me a little hope, and I hope more people will read your articles.

  4. I have a question? I am married to my wife for 16 yrs and have 3 children and lived with them all this time. I am a deemed sex offender because of a computer crime in my home. I lived in Fl and when this problem started I moved my family to NC. With all the permission from the court I moved my family out of Fl. It took two years to close the case and my lawyer advised me to plead out not knowing all the ramifications that would come afterwards. I have no victims nor did i sexually offended anyone. I had a transfer request to go back home. I read your article about living with minors. These are my children and they need me home as I need to be home for them. Probation in NC rejected my transfer because there are minors in the home which are my children. FL judge gave me a condition that I can live with my children and have complete contact with my children because there was no evidence of physical Or mental abuse. I know FL and NC are different state. But reading this article i feel that NC probation is incorrect on there ruling. I need some input on this issue. Its my children and Its my home and I am married and I am stuck in FL as a transient because FL forces anyone under sex crimes to be transient in the state. I want to go back home should I reach out to the courts in NC to get the law corrected if I can live with my family.

  5. My fiance is a registered sex offender who was supposedly with a 14 year old girl when he turned 18 and is serving out the rest of his probation in Prison I have a four yrmear old son who is not his will he be allowed around my son when he gets out ive talked to Dhs about it they say no but now im getting mixed anwsers so my question is will he be aloud around my son or do i risk losing my son by being with this man i need to know

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