Convicted Sex Offender Worked with Children, AG in Pursuit

Allison Black Cornelius couldn't believe what she had heard.

Leon Prince, the man convicted of sexually assaulting her 35 years ago, was working with kids at the state's Youth Services Facility in Mount Meigs.

"He hasn't been out hardly a year, and he was able to get himself into that kind of position," said Cornelius, amazed.

Prince volunteered with youths at the facility's school, part of a program loosely affiliated with Montgomery's Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church.

"It was just a series of things that just happened and went under the radar," explained Rev. John Ed Mathison.

Just thirteen months out of prison--after serving half of a 30 year sentence--Prince was ruled exempt from a law requiring offenders to register.

According to an administrative law judge, his crime, "Carnal Knowledge of a Child under 12" doesn't formally exist anymore.

It's a ruling that has the Alabama Attorney General's office scrambling.

"While the crime was no longer on the books under that name, it was still a crime under Alabama's rape law," explained Chris Bence, Chief of Staff for the AG's office.

It's the state's Community Notification Act that holds the key.

Usually, a sex offender has to be monitored, but right now, Bence says, the language is vague and doesn't hold up to today's standards..

"Since then, we've got computers, the internet, and all kinds of ways of soliciting children.  Crime and the ways to commit them has grown," Bence said.

Prince last visited the facility in late November, but with details of his past now known in Montgomery, church administrators say they're still in shock.

"He shouldn't have been there, and I wish he had said that, or somehow we had the information that had done the right thing.  That shouldn't have happened," Mathison said.

NOTE:  Rev. Mathison tells WSFA 12 News at no point was Prince ever unsupervised at the correctional facility, nor did he interact with children at Frazer.  That would have required a complete background check.

Reporter:  Cody Holyoke