Wendy Whitaker's name may be on Georgia's sex offender registry, but her offense suggests she is no predator.
At age 17, while a high school sophomore, Whitaker had oral sex with a 15-year-old male classmate. In 1997, she pleaded guilty to sodomy and got five years' probation.
Whitaker, 28, has moved twice because of the sex offender law's restrictions that say an offender cannot live within 1,000 feet of places where children congregate. Whitaker was recently told by a sheriff she must move again because her home is within 1,000 feet of a church.
While I certainly understand the appeal of a law aimed at keeping sex offenders away from children, it seems like we might want to more carefully consider just what type of crimes get a person's name added to a registry that can have such lasting and profound impacts.
Wendy Whitaker is now the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit "that seeks to have [Georgia's] residency restrictions found unconstitutional," yet the state of Georgia does not want to allow her to wait for the federal decision before moving. Whitaker's lawyer, Sarah Geraghty, couldn't help but express some exasperation with the case, commenting:
Wendy Whitaker is not now and has never been a threat to anyone... The state of Georgia has better things to do than to evict a woman from her lawfully purchased home because she had sex as a teenager.
What do other people think about Whitaker's case, and about residency restriction laws in general?