Tifton Gazette

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September 17, 2007

TCSO updates sex offender list

TIFTON — It was last September when The Tifton Gazette last ran the list of registered sex offenders in Tift County.

“As of this morning (Monday) we are back up to 49 sex offenders,” said Bobby Brannen with the Tift County Sheriff’s Office. Brannen said the list is updated regularly and is posted, along with photograph of the offenders, at the TCSO, Tifton City Hall, Omega and Ty Ty city halls, clerk of court’s office and county commission office. The list is also updated on the TCSO’s Web site at www.tiftsheriff.net.

“You would not believe the calls we get,” Brannen said of the situation that arises when the sex offender list is printed. He gave as an example what happened when the list was printed last year.

“We had a child molester that had moved here from Turner County,” Brannen said. “He was supposed to be living with his uncle. As soon as the list came out his uncle beat a trail here that very morning and said his nephew did not live with him. The uncle wrote a statement and we issued a warrant for him (the sex offender).” Through a long series of events, the sex offender, John Hampton, was eventually arrested and charged with murder in Clearwater, Fla.

“We try to track these people,” Brannen said. “In next year’s budget we need to look at making this a full-time position.”

The new sex offender law passed in 2006 precludes a sex offender from living within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, playground or area where children congregate. “The law was designed to be tough,” Brannen said.

To be listed as a sex offender, the offender must be convicted of a crime that is by its nature a sexual offense, such as rape, sodomy (against a minor), aggravated sodomy (against a minor or an adult), statutory rape (unless the age of the perpetrator is 18 years of age or younger), child molestation, aggravated child molestation, enticing a child for indent purposes or aggravated sexual battery.

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