Stricter new rules governing sex offenders took effect in North Carolina yesterday, tripling the number of years that some offenders must remain on the state’s registry and requiring them to stay away from places where children normally gather, reports the Associated Press. The rules require that offenders convicted of certain sex crimes against children or of sexual violence must remain on a state registry for 30 years, up from the previous requirement of 10 years. The state’s more than 11,000 offenders are required to register in person with the local sheriff within three days of changing addresses, instead of the previous 10-day window.
Offenders also must stay at least 300 feet away from places where children congregate, such as day- care centers and schools. One offender said that his county’s sheriff said he couldn’t go to his church because there was a nursery in the building. The newspaper didn’t identify the county. The new rules were approved by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mike Easley this year. Legal experts and one legislator said that the new rules are too strict because they don’t draw a line between offenders who are likely to commit another offense and those trying to lead clean lives.