Police try to plug loophole in sex offender law - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Police try to plug loophole in sex offender law

Local police are stepping up efforts to plug a loophole in sex offender laws.

The law requires sex offenders put their home address on a public registry, but it is based on an honor system that is hard to track. So, Millington police are taking matters into their own hands to keep tabs on the nine sex offenders in the city.

"If they're not where they're supposed to be, then we're gonna do everything we can to attempt to locate 'em," said Millington Police Chief Richard Jewell.

Millington Police Lieutenant Charlie Coleman and his partner went door-to-door to verify sex offenders live where they claim. Their first stop: the home of Stephen George, convicted with aggravated sexual battery.

They're met by a barking dog and finally, family members confirmed George lives there.

"He's within a thousand feet of a school," explained Lt. Coleman.

Ballard lives a block from Millington Central High, but it is legal, according to Tennessee law, because his offense did not involve a minor. 

One parent did not want to show her face, but she is uneasy. When asked if she knew a registered sex offender lived directly across the street from her, she replied, "no, I didn't".

The next stop: the home of Jerry Ballard, convicted of sexual battery. A woman answered the door.

"She said he does not live here. He gets his mail here, but he does not live here. That all she knows is he is up in Milan, Tennessee hunting," explained Lt. Coleman.

However, Ballard called Action News 5 after he caught wind of our story. He claimed he does live there.

The next stop: Waymon Joyner, convicted of attempted rape of a child.

Lt. Coleman worked closely with the ex-Shelby County deputy on several cases.

"This is probably gonna be the toughest one for me," expressed Lt. Coleman. He makes a note of his surroundings. "This area right here has got a lot of kids," said Lt. Coleman.

The lieutenant learned Joyner did live there. Lieutenant Coleman is glad to know that.

"Could be part of the rehabilitation," he said.

He said it was also reassuring to know that of the nine offenders Millington officers visited, eight of them lived where they registered.

Today's effort took just one hour.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations encourages all police departments to do the same.

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