Harlem woman asks court to halt her eviction for 1996 sex offense

Friday, Nov. 21, 2008 9:32 AM
Last updated Friday, May 28, 2010 11:21 PM
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The Harlem woman facing a Thanksgiving Day eviction from her home because of the sex offender registry requirements filed suit this morning in Columbia County Superior Court.

Attorneys from the Southern Center for Human Rights seek an injunction on behalf of Wendy Whitaker who faces eviction from her home because she resides within 1,000 feet of a child care center and church.

Mrs. Whitaker is on the sex offender registry because in 1996, when she was a 17-year-old high school student, she engaged in a consensual sex act with a student who was three weeks shy of his 16th birthday, according to the lawsuit.

The General Assembly created the punitive sex offender registry requirements in 2006. Although courts and the legislators have tamed some of the provisions, Mrs. Whitaker's case falls through the safety net.

Mrs. Whitaker had moved from her home but she returned this year after the law allowed sex offenders who own their homes to remain.

But the Columbia County Sheriff's Office ordered her to leave the home because it is within 1,000 feet of a church and Mrs. Whitaker's name is not on the deed. It is titled in her husband's name, according to the lawsuit.

Mrs. Whitaker had sought relief from the federal court but earlier this month the U.S. District Court in Atlanta rejected her plea.

Two years ago a federal judge ruled the provision that sought to keep sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop was unconstitutional. Plaintiffs convinced the judge that it was impossible to find a home that wasn't within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop.

But this month a federal judge ruled that the current provisions restricting a sex offender's home isn't too restrictive, according to earlier reports.

Today Mrs. Whitaker's supporters filed the lawsuit in a state court, basing their arguments on the Georgia constitution.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226

or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (65) Add comment
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voluptuously_auburn1
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voluptuously_auburn1 11/21/08 - 10:44 am
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I hope she wins and brings

I hope she wins and brings more light to this law - it doesn't work in all instances, there are many who are in similar situations as this lady, yet treated as badly as if a rapist. The law needs to be revised.

GnipGnop1
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GnipGnop1 11/21/08 - 10:45 am
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I agree, maybe she should

I agree, maybe she should look into filing under her plea agreement. Seeing as how nobody under 18 can enter into a binding contract.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/21/08 - 11:32 am
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Unreasonable law.

Unreasonable law.

edst4
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edst4 11/21/08 - 11:34 am
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I am all for the law. But in

I am all for the law. But in this case it is wrong. I hope she wins and is able to stay in HER home.

Signal Always
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Signal Always 11/21/08 - 11:37 am
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Why would she even have to

Why would she even have to plea? Why should this even be an issue? I swear, I don't even recognize this country anymore. In the past, this issue would have never came to light, or the parents would have found out and it would have been dealt with. It's as if parents don't have kids to raise themselves, they seem to be raising kids for the damn government. A 17 Y/O gave a 15 Y/O a BJ. Yes, it's wrong as they're too young, but seriously, big deal. It's not like this is the first damn time it's ever happened. The parents should handle this.

slmp
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slmp 11/21/08 - 11:50 am
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Signal always, did you see

Signal always, did you see that this happened back in 1996, nothing for the parents to deal with anymore. She is an adult now. I do not believe she should have to register or move from a house that her husband owns. Kids all over do these things everyday. This is not the spirit of the law. It was meant to deal with child molesters, rapists, and pedophiles. Not teenagers doing teenage things.

Signal Always
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Signal Always 11/21/08 - 12:11 pm
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I know when it happened. I'm

I know when it happened. I'm just saying this should have never been an issue. She should have never been placed on any dumb*&^ registry. She was a 17 Y/O adolescent messing around with a 15 Y/O adolescent. Both were in High School. It's not like she was 48 years old praying on a 10 Y/O. Again, I don't recognize this country anymore.

PLAYLIKETHUNDER4
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PLAYLIKETHUNDER4 11/21/08 - 12:47 pm
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as jerry clower used to say,"

as jerry clower used to say," this country's running backwards", and it gets more so everyday.

Talkatoast
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Talkatoast 11/21/08 - 01:13 pm
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This country is getting

This country is getting ridiculous.

sanders23
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sanders23 11/21/08 - 01:19 pm
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I think "we the people"

I think "we the people" should start a petition for this poor girl...and get the judge who ruined her life fired and fined for being a complete moron.

moneyman1035
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moneyman1035 11/21/08 - 01:19 pm
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I agree with all of you,

I agree with all of you, today you can't spanke a child, a child can be tried as adult, but a 17 year can't have sex with who they want? I mean my grandmother was married and carrying my dad when she was 16, does that make her bad? She is one of the most religous people I know but as of todays standards she would be labled a sex offender? There was 20 years age difference with them too, poor grandad would have been lable a pervert and shot at high noon with todays standards. I think we gave the law makers too much power, and the do gooders and the aclu worries about too much stuff that they should stay out of. My dad caught my brother having sex, he made the girl go home, and brother was spanked, he didn't do it again at our house... Todays parents rather have the police raise there kids instead themselves. I think a 17 year can say who and when he has sex, I think age is a number , and doesn't matter really. I think the county , state , or federal government needs to stay out of where someone lives.

BOBO
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BOBO 11/21/08 - 01:26 pm
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@ 17 she is an adult. If it

@ 17 she is an adult. If it was a male he would be stoned to death... Move find a new home....move....

Signal Always
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Signal Always 11/21/08 - 01:32 pm
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That's a crock. A 17 Y/O male

That's a crock. A 17 Y/O male that has sex with a 15 Y/O male, BOTH high schoolers, shouldn't have their lives destroyed by the damn government. Now, the boy might have to answer to the girl's father, but that's another story. Well, that's how it used to be back with this country was SANE.

gosh
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gosh 11/21/08 - 03:01 pm
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I was 16 when I have my first

I was 16 when I have my first child her father was 18, that was in 1989 nothing happened to him. This is crazy leave this lady alone they were both teenagers at the time. If it was consensual sex and they got caught then the 15 year old should have to register also but thats not going to happen. She probably broke up with him, it broke his heart so his parents got mad because there poor little boy was heartbroken.

Signal Always
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Signal Always 11/21/08 - 03:04 pm
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Yeah, I doubt that last

Yeah, I doubt that last sentence is what happened.

pizzato
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pizzato 11/21/08 - 03:35 pm
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This is terrible I guess the

This is terrible I guess the kids they suspended for messing around at one of the schools will have to register now?
In SC you have to register if you get caught urinating in public, like behind a tree or house not just peeing in the middle of town. I remember as a kid Mom and Dad would just pull over to the side of the road and let us go by the car door.

Farful
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Farful 11/21/08 - 04:39 pm
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snowball headed for hell

snowball headed for hell

GGpap
491
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GGpap 11/21/08 - 04:57 pm
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To Mrs, Whitaker: You have my

To Mrs, Whitaker: You have my very best wishes for a successful challenge to this asinine law. Extreme (and fanatical) influence from the "American Taliban" led to the passage of most of the sex offender registration laws on the books today and, short of a shootin' war against said "Taliban," they will stay firmly in place. GGpap.

RogueKnight
210
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RogueKnight 11/21/08 - 05:00 pm
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In the lawmakers' zeal to

In the lawmakers' zeal to punish sex offenders, they are now punishing youth for doing what youth have done for eons, experiment sexually. The laws need to be rewritten to handle the predatory sex offenders in this manner, not young people doing what many of ourselves may have done at their age. It's totally ridiculous that she is being made to move. She doesn't deserve this, nor do her husband and children.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 11/21/08 - 05:32 pm
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I have asked before, but I

I have asked before, but I will ask again. Could someone please provide the 'facts' that led to the original charges and conviction. At least provide Whitaker's name before she was married so that an archive search can be made.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 11/21/08 - 05:36 pm
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RogueKnight: Glad YOU didn't

RogueKnight: Glad YOU didn't get caught, I didn't do it!

Signal Always
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Signal Always 11/21/08 - 05:39 pm
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The charges HAVE been brought

The charges HAVE been brought to light. She was 17, he was 15, they were both in high school, and she gave him a hoot owl. ....and yes, it was consensual.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 11/21/08 - 06:02 pm
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This whole thing stinks,

This whole thing stinks, doesn't make a bit of sense and is unjust. I'm with Voluptuously Auburn, Signal Always, Rogue Knight, moneyman, etc... This is not what this law is meant for. The law needs to be corrected.

55 F-100
1
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55 F-100 11/21/08 - 07:34 pm
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Enforce the law. Find a new

Enforce the law. Find a new place to live. She is a convicted felon and has been placed on the sex offender registry. END OF STORY!

RogueKnight
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RogueKnight 11/21/08 - 08:20 pm
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No Longer Amazed, I was 19

No Longer Amazed, I was 19 and living on my own before I had sex the first time, but it wasn't for lack of trying. F-100, you're missing the point, entirely.

jshiver15
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jshiver15 11/21/08 - 08:33 pm
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So, if it was a felony to

So, if it was a felony to scratch your butt on Thursday and you got caught, would you just "move on" and say "end of story?" It's easy for you to make light of the subject, but there is a family out there going through turmoil. Someone is getting forced out of their home. Kind of hard to just "move on" from that.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 11/21/08 - 08:57 pm
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IMO a couple of years ago Ms.

IMO a couple of years ago Ms. Whitaker allowed herself to be used as the standard-bearer for a group of people who wished to get the law overturned. Apparently that didn't work, and now she is within days of the law being enforced and she is desperately trying last minute legal maneuvers to stop being evicted. Also IMO, if she had tried to get herself removed from the registry in the first place, she might not be in this position today. And yes, Signal Always, the CHARGES have been brought to light, but where are the FACTS?

roymccoy
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roymccoy 11/21/08 - 09:22 pm
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politicians deserve to be

politicians deserve to be summarily shot for this travesty upon mrs whitaker! they persecute others, yet commit some of the most eggregious of crimes! all politicians are scumbags, in office to line their pockets and those of their cronies. if you're a politician, i wish you nothing but the utmost in grief!

roymccoy
0
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roymccoy 11/21/08 - 09:22 pm
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politicians deserve to be

politicians deserve to be summarily shot for this travesty upon mrs whitaker! they persecute others, yet commit some of the most eggregious of crimes! all politicians are scumbags, in office to line their pockets and those of their cronies. if you're a politician, i wish you nothing but the utmost in grief!

roymccoy
0
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roymccoy 11/21/08 - 09:23 pm
0
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politicians deserve to be

politicians deserve to be summarily shot for this travesty upon mrs whitaker! they persecute others, yet commit some of the most eggregious of crimes! all politicians are scumbags, in office to line their pockets and those of their cronies. if you're a politician, i wish you nothing but the utmost in grief!

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