Sex offender's move brings arrest

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Whitaker

Columbia County authorities arrested a Harlem sex offender today.

During a routine check, police discovered that Wendy Whitaker, who had lived at 270 Church St., had moved without notifying authorities, which the law requires sex offenders to do.

Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said that police discovered last week that the house was empty.

Mrs. Whitaker is charged with violation of the sex offender law, Capt. Morris said.

Mrs. Whitaker became the focal point of a lawsuit last year after a state statute threatened to force her from her Harlem home.

That legislation, passed in 2006, forbids sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a child-care center, school, church or a registered school bus stop. Mrs. Whitaker lived too close to a child-care center and church.

In November attorneys from the Southern Center for Human Rights filed for an injunction in Columbia County Superior Court that allowed Mrs. Whitaker to remain in her home.

According to the lawsuit, 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 15-year-old.

Last month, Mrs. Whitaker, 29, was arrested on drug charges.

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