NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Law enforcement officers are concerned about an increase in the number of sex offenders moving to Tennessee from Alabama.
Sex offenders are telling Giles County law enforcement that they are moving over the state line because Alabama sex offender registry requirements are too tough, especially when it comes to offenders who want to live with their own biological children.
Lt. Shane Hunter with Giles County told News 2 his agency and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department noticed a major influx 8 to 9 months ago.
The case really came into focus however with the arrest of Joshua Mark Hendon, who is charged with rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery and 45 counts of violation of the sex offender registry.
Giles County authorities arrested the Alabama sex offender on June 3 after the 31-year-old reportedly sexually assaulted a Giles County child that he lived near.
“Allegedly he had contact with a minor under the age of 13 close proximity where he lives in the south part of the county,” said Lt. Hunter.
According to Lt. Shane Hunter, Hendon was arrested in Alabama in 2009 when he was a skating rink manager and accused of exposing himself to four teenage girls there.
According to Lt. Hunter, Hendon has two biological children.
Because he is a convicted sex offender, Alabama law prohibits Hendon from living with his children.
But in Tennessee, Hendon can live with his children because he didn’t commit a crime against them.
Lt. Hunter says that’s why Hendon claims he and many other Alabama sex offenders are now moving in droves over the border to Tennessee.
“Yes, it troubles me, and it troubles the neighboring counties as well,” said Lt. Hunter. “They realize that and word of mouth gets out and one sex offender tells another one that the laws are less stringent, and move up there, because there are less hoops to jump through and that is why they are moving to
Tennessee and we have probably seen a 50 percent increase in our sex offenders from Alabama coming to Tennessee.”
Lt. Hunter says law enforcement agencies would like for state legislators to look at the laws in Tennessee and make them comparable with the state of
Alabama so people are not jumping across the state line.
In addition, Alabama sex offender requirements are also more demanding when it comes to how far a sex offender must remain from a day care or school.
In Alabama it is 2,000 feet. In Tennessee it is only 1,000 feet.