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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Word: Sex offenders sent packing

Last week, it was reported that a wooded area behind a Marietta office park had become a squatters compound for nine of Georgia's registered sex offenders. A state law that bans sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of areas where children might gather has forced numerous offenders into homelessness, including the nine squatters. Those squatters now have to find another place to set up camp; the Georgia Department of Transportation order them off its land on Sept. 29.

“It's really very common that we find people living on our land, often in tents or under bridges. We don’t want to allow anyone to live on our property, for liability issues.”

— Mark McKinnon, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, quoted in the Marietta Daily Journal

“I walked to Wal-Mart, bought a tent and made a little place to live. That’s how much I don’t want to violate probation.”

— William Hawkins, a resident of the camp, quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“I don’t think it was the Georgia Legislature’s intention to render people homeless as a result of this law. This result does nothing to make women and children more safe, and only makes law enforcement’s role more complicated.”

— Sara Totonchi, public policy director for the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights quoted in the AJC

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