Judge to reconsider sex offender tracking

March 29, 2008 9:42:57 AM PDT
A convicted sex offender is talking only with Eyewitness News about the law that would require his every move to be tracked electronically.

A Wake County judge is expected to decide soon whether he and others like him must wear a satellite waist belt and ankle bracelet even though they've finished serving their sentences.

Three men, all convicted more than once of child sex crimes, sat in the back of a Wake County courtroom Friday.

All are wearing a monitor on their belt and another on their ankle. And all three men are part of the recent law that forces some repeat offenders to wear satellite tracking devices.

Wake County Prosecutor Adam Moyers says the Legislature intended the law to be retroactive and include offenders who have already served their time and probation. The offenders say the law should not be retroactive.

Kyle Cornelius says it's keeping him from turning his life around. "When I go to work or something it starts beeping," Cornelius explained. "I might end up losing a job if this thing keeps beeping and stuff like that."

Cornelius was convicted of felony sexual assault in New Jersey in 1990. Fourteen years later he was convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor in Hoke County. He served a couple of years in prison and completed his probation. Then when the satellite tracking law took effect, he was forced to wear a device that monitors his every move -- including his lunchtime walk outside the courthouse.

At the same time, just a few blocks from the courthouse, Maureen Fontanes was taking an educational tour with their young daughters. She fears sexual predators and likes the tracking law ? unfair or not.

"Anything we can do to stop that kind of thing from going on or, at least the ones we know about, keep our eye on them - it's a good thing. Especially if they're back in the community," Fontanes said.

Fontanes hopes the judge will rule in favor of the most widespread use of satellite tracking devices because when it comes to repeat sex offenders she has now sympathy for repeat sex offenders.

Repeat sex offender, Kyle Cornelius expects that kind of response. "And, uh, but if you've done everything that you had to do and stuff, you know, going through the probation or whatever the case may be and if you know you're trying to do right or whatever then it shouldn't matter what anyone else says."

Wake Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand is expected to make his decision next week.


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