By Danielle Battaglia
WENTWORTH - Is the Rockingham County District Attorney violating the constitutional rights of sex offenders? Someone seems to think so.
A lawsuit, filed in August, claims Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., N.C. Governor Pat McCrory, N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper and every other district attorney in the state did.
“It is a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality on registered sex offenders being banned at certain locations,” attorney for the plaintiff Glenn Gerding said.
Noelle Talley, spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, confirmed the lawsuit.
“Violent sex offenders and those who’ve harmed children have no business being at schools, daycares or playgrounds,” Cooper said in a statement through Talley. “We’ll fight to uphold this law to protect our kids.”
- How many children have been sexually abuse at a school, daycare or playground? Care to answer that question? We are willing to bet zero.
Talley said the lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a North Carolina law that makes it illegal for certain convicted sex offenders to be within 300-feet of any place intended primarily for the use, care or supervision of minors.
Talley said the ban applies to sex offenders convicted of violent sex offenses or ones involving minors. It applies to locations including schools, children’s museums, child care centers and nurseries and playgrounds.
“The attorney general’s office will defend the state in the case, which was filed in United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina in late August,” Talley said.
Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. confirmed the lawsuit does name him as a defendant.
“I am being sued, with all other district attorneys, the governor and the attorney general, on N.C. General Statute NCGS-14-208.18, which prohibits sex offenders from being at certain places,” Berger said. “The injunction said the unconstitutional provision violates sex offender’s constitutional rights.”
- So he admits it's unconstitutional?
Deputy Attorney General Hal Askins plans to represent Berger in the lawsuit. None of the attorneys on either side of the case were willing to comment on the lawsuit.