Law targets sex offenders living together

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama's sex offender registry lets everyone locate where registered sex offenders live. A quick search revealed surprising findings in Montgomery.

"I have three small children, myself..." says Johnny Dixon. "It bothers me that it's so close to home." A check of the area near Dixon's home on Congressman Dickinson Drive showed several sex offenders living nearby at the Regency Inn motel. The registry shows nine registered sex offenders living on the Regency's premises.

Another eight offenders call the Rodeway Inn on the West South Boulevard "home" and in total, more than 27 sex offenders live on the West South Blvd.

"As for the hotel issue on the boulevard, at Mobile Highway, it's relatively inexpensive," explains Lt. L.H. Persky, who keeps track of sex offenders in Montgomery County. "It's hard for these guys to get jobs. Some of them don't have a lot of family support."

The sex offender law limits where registered sex offenders can live. Lt. Persky says that's why you see them grouped in certain areas of town. A map of Montgomery shows that many live very close to one another.

"I don't have statistics that show whether or not it's a good or bad thing," Persky explains. But he adds that from a law enforcement stand point, it's easier to check on offenders if they live in one area.

State Representative Kurt Wallace (R- Chilton County) is not happy with the close proximity offenders have with each other. "You don't put that many like-minded people together and not have some residual effects," he says.

Wallace has presented a bill in the Alabama legislature that would make it illegal for more than one sex offender to live at the same address.

"What my bill does is basically say that you can't live within 300 feet of each other, unless you're in a treatment facility or unless you are a family member."

Rep. Wallace says he drafted the bill after he learned of a whopping two dozen registered sex offenders over the last 18 months as listing one home in Chilton County as their address on the sex offender registry.

One of those registered sex offenders is Selid Holt. He has lived with Ricky Martin for the past year. "There's been no kind of offenses committed by these guys that we've helped get out of prison," Martin said. all that have left...have been success stories."

Martin calls it a compassion to help. It's the same reason the Reverend Curtis Browder gives for housing 13 sex offenders in a lot full of trailers off the Mobile Highway. "It's a ministry," he says. "We minister to these guys on a daily basis, and when they get out, they need a place to go."

Wallace says he has no problem with supervised, state-approved and licensed facilities. " I realize that sex offenders need a place to go. I realize they need help. I just know that when you have that many of anybody doing anything together, you worry."

Attempts to contact the Rodeway Inn were met with a decline to comment on this story. The manager at the Regency Inn says he hasn't had any problems with the sex offenders who are living there.

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