CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When the topic of sex offenders are brought up, people often know there’s a registry they can check and that there are rules about sex offenders staying away from public locations like parks, schools etc.
But in emergency situations like Florence, are those rules still in effect? What about when the only public shelters are at schools and other normally “off-limits” locations?
Can registered sex offenders in North Carolina stay in emergency storm shelters? If so, are they required to tell anyone?
Yes, in North Carolina registered sex offenders can stay at emergency shelters regardless of their location, a North Carolina State spokesperson told Verify. But they do have to alert the shelter leadership and can be relocated if the management deems it necessary.
WHAT WE FOUND:
While the law is relatively clear on registered offenders being prohibited from a number of public places, they don’t detail what happens when storms come in.
To answer those questions, VERIFY spoke to Bill Holmes a spokesperson for the State.
According to Holmes, sex offenders are allowed to stay in any public shelter in North Carolina.
But they must follow certain guidelines to do so. Sex offenders must:
- Declare their status to the manager and administrators at a shelter before entering.
- Possibly relocate to a different shelter if the manager/staff think it’s necessary.
The key point is that the management gets to decide if the offender is let into the shelter or possibly sent to another location. These offenders cannot be turned away from shelters completely but can be moved around until the staff feels most comfortable.
Holmes said sex offenders are made aware of this requirement as a condition of their legal status.
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