New law to disband sex offender camp in Chilton County - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

New law to disband sex offender camp in Chilton County

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July first, a new law requires convicted sex offenders in Chilton County to live at least 300 feet away from any other sex offender, unless the two are related.

The law was written specifically to deal with one property owned by a church, just outside Clanton.

Over the past four years, 53 convicted sex offenders moved to this spot when they were released from prison.

"I have five girls and two grandkids so I pay close attention,” said Jason Baugh, who lives next to the property.

The Chilton County District Attorney's Office says seven sex offenders currently live on the premises.

“I just take care of my own,” Baugh explains. “We make sure that there's somebody outside with the girls or with the grandkids."

Baugh has lived in his home for seven years. When he moved in, he didn't know a fence would separate his family from dozens of convicted rapists and child molesters.

But, that's what happened when Triumph Church filled their trailers with sex offenders being released from prison. 

"I never particularly agreed with it,” said Baugh. “He asked when he went to do it whether or not we had cared if he did a rehabilitation program for prisoners. We told him ‘no’ as long as there were no sex offenders involved and that was the first thing that he got."

 Since 2010, 32 of the sex offenders on the property were convicted rapists. Another 21 were convicted of some form of molestation. All told, 43 committed their sex crimes against children.

"Your scared to death for your children and your grandkids,” said Alabama State Representative Kurt Wallace, who sponsored the bill. “I mean, you don't want to let your child go ride a bicycle outside of your site. That's the situation we're in."

Wallace, a Republican, says the bill was designed to make the offenders find a new place to live.

The bill passed. The governor signed it. July first, all sex offenders in Chilton County are required to live 300 feet apart from each other, unless they are related.

"So effectively, it causes them to disperse,” said Wallace. “That's the gist of the bill. That's why we did it."

CJ Robinson, Chief Deputy District Attorney in Chilton County, helped write the bill. He says only two of the 53 offenders committed their crimes in the county.

"It's become a dumping ground and for all over the state,” said Robinson. “We've got 53 sex offenders from 28 different counties and three states.”

"We'll take care of our own,” added Wallace. “If our children go bad, if our citizens go bad, then that's our responsibility. But, don't ask me to take yours in. Don't ask me to have your sex offender living in my community. We're not comfortable with that."

Some of those in the community couldn’t agree more.

"I think you should have to have three miles between each of them,” said Gordon Burkhalter, who lives near the property. “l mean, but 300 feet would help a lot. That would get a lot of them scattered out."

"I think that the law is a good law because there's no reason to have that many sex offenders located in one location,” said Baugh.

ABC 33/40 reached out to the property's owner several times. He did not want to do an on-camera interview nor would he comment for our story. 

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