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Feds cobbled criminal cases together in missing children operation, creating false perception

Public announcements about the operation, vague on details but full of loaded terms, led to weeks of social media misinformation about the breakup of a massive child sex trafficking ring in Georgia. “39 kids were just recovered from traffickers in Georgia,” went a common Twitter trope.

Shareef faces two misdemeanor charges related to the raid, neither of them sex-related. But his jail booking photo spread around the world under headlines such as “U.S. Marshals Find 39 Missing Children During Massive Sex Trafficking Bust In Georgia — 9 Suspects Arrested.” He and his mother told the AJC that angry people have been pulling up to their house, accusing him of sex trafficking or sexually abusing a 3-year-old. One group brandished guns and challenged Shareef to step outside and fight, he said.

“They’re calling me a sex offender,” Shareef said. “They’re calling me a child molester. It just hurts.”

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Source: https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/feds-cobbled-criminal-cases-together-in-missing-children-operation-creating-false-perception/DKRQC2SVVRBCLNOPQ5DBIVTMHM/

Reason agrees: No red dots marking those on sex offense registry at Halloween

reason-agrees:-no-red-dots-marking-those-on-sex-offense-registry-at-halloween

Originally published 10/1/2020 at Reason; reprinted in full here with permission.

By Jacob Sullum . . . Every year in the run-up to Halloween, Patch publishes maps showing the homes of “registered sex offenders” in various cities. Ostensibly, this information is aimed at helping parents who worry that their children might be molested while trick-or-treating. But research shows that such fears have no basis in reality, and these stories—like the warning signs and restrictions imposed by local police prior to Halloween—mainly serve to stigmatize people who have already completed their sentences, along with their spouses and children, who have committed no crimes at all. That stigma invites harassment, vandalism, and violence. Like much local journalism, the practice of publishing these maps is ill-informed sensationalism masquerading as a public service.

This fall a petition organized by the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) is urging Patch and other outlets to cut it out. Noting the “total lack of evidence that the publication of these addresses at Halloween keeps children safe,” the petition asks news organizations to “cease a hurtful publication practice that has no positive effect at all on child protection or public safety.”

The irrationality of that practice is clear once you understand a few basic facts:

1. Sex offender registries include a wide range of people, many of whom were not convicted of crimes against children.

2. Sex offenders stay on the registry long after they have completed their official punishment, even though they are less likely to commit new offenses of the same type than people convicted of other crimes. According to a 2019 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), less than 8 percent of people who had served sentences for rape or sexual assault were rearrested for a similar crime within nine years after they were released. That report also shows that the annual risk of recidivism falls dramatically over time.

3. The vast majority of sexually abused minors—93 percent, according to a 2000 BJS report—are assaulted by relatives, family friends, or other people they already know.

4. The vast majority of convicted sex offenders—86 percent, according to another BJS report—have no prior convictions for this category of crime, so they would not show up in registries.

5. There is no evidence that children face a higher risk of sexual assault on Halloween than they do the rest of the year. A 2009 analysis of 67,000 cases, reported in the journal Sexual Abuse, found “no increased rate on or just before Halloween.”

The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) amplifies that last point: “A heightened risk of being sexually abused is NOT one of the dangers children face at Halloween. The simple fact is that there are no significant increases in sex crimes on or around Halloween. There is no ‘Halloween effect.’ There is no change in the rate of sexual crimes by non-family members during Halloween. That was true both before and after communities enacted laws to restrict the activities of registrants during Halloween.”

In light of this evidence, the NARSOL petition argues, pre-Halloween stories showing the homes of people on the sex offender registry are gratuitous, unethical, and reckless. NARSOL adds that the focus on a nonexistent threat distracts attention from the main perpetrators of sex offenses against children, which are rarely committed by strangers, and from the main danger that kids face on Halloween: traffic accidents. The Washington Post reports that “children are three times more likely to be fatally injured by a car on the holiday, and the risk grows to 10 times for kids 4 to 8.”

The 150 or so signatories include ATSA, activists and journalists (including Reason contributor Lenore Skenazy) who support reform of sex offense laws, and an impressive list of professionals and academics. Among them are Elizabeth Letourneau, director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at Johns Hopkins University; Jill Levenson, a professor of social work at Barry University; Fred Berlin, director of the National Institute for the Study, Prevention, and Treatment of Sexual Trauma; Carleton University psychologist Karl Hanson; Arizona State law professor Ira Ellman; Southwestern Law School professor Catherine Carpenter; and University of Delaware sociologist Chrysanthi Leon.

Might these experts know more about this subject than the editors and writers who insist that parents should “find out where the registered sex offenders are living…before the kids go out trick-or-treating”? Perhaps Patch will consider the possibility.

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Source: https://narsol.org/2020/10/reason-agrees-no-red-dots-marking-those-on-sex-offense-registry-at-halloween/

Sheriff: Jailers not told of anti-white bias in inmate death

sheriff:-jailers-not-told-of-anti-white-bias-in-inmate-death

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — Jail officials say they were unaware that a Black Georgia inmate may have harbored racial resentment before they put him in a cell with a white man that he’s accused of beating to death.

Muscogee County Sheriff Donna Tompkins tells local news outlets that her staff didn’t know that Jayvon Hatchett allegedly told police that he was looking for a white man to kill after he was arrested for stabbing an employee of a Columbus auto parts store on Aug. 25. A police report listed the stabbing as an “anti-white” bias incident, but Tompkins said the sheriff’s office wasn’t given the report or informed of the threat.

“No one in my agency was aware when they classified him, when they put him where they put him,” Tompkins said. “No one was aware of a specific threat to any group, nor did he indicate any to our security, medical or mental health staff.”

Hatchett shared a cell with white inmate Eddie Nelson Jr. from Aug. 28 through Sept. 5. A deputy reported seeing Hatchett atop Nelson in the early morning hours of Sept. 5, local news outlets report. Tompkins said that as deputies pulled Hatchett from Nelson, he said Nelson had put a hair in Hatchett’s sandwich. Nelson died of what the Muscogee County coroner ruled was blunt force trauma.

“Somebody made a decision to put these two inmates in a cell together and that never should have happened. Whoever did it had to have known,” said Craig Jones, a lawyer representing Nelson’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit.

He said multiple deputies were in the courtroom during Hatchett’s preliminary hearing where officers testified Hatchett told them he stabbed the store clerk because he is white.

“You can’t tell me those officers in court didn’t go back to the jail and tell their supervisor, and their supervisor didn’t tell their supervisor,” Jones told WTVM-TV. “I think it was probably a total breakdown of communications, but this is a big enough deal that if you’re in charge of the jail, if you’re in charge of the sheriff’s department, you have to know about this.”

Tompkins said she ordered an internal investigation into what knowledge deputies had of the charges against Hatchett and how they decided to house him with Nelson. But she said sees no reason to call in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Nelson was in jail for a probation violation because he had failed to register as a sex offender.

Hatchett is charged with murder in Nelson’s death. The 19-year-old has pleaded not guilty, but officials say he has confessed and Tompkins notes the deputy saw what happened. Hatchett is charged with aggravated assault and possession of a weapon during a crime in the auto parts store stabbing.

Tompkins said both cellmates had seen the jail’s mental health provider.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Source: https://thebrunswicknews.com/news/state_news/sheriff-jailers-not-told-of-anti-white-bias-in-inmate-death/article_76310b95-b0cb-596b-b8bf-e992e83317f4.html

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

not-real-news:-a-look-at-what-didn’t-happen-this-week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts:

CLAIM: Law enforcement found 39 missing children in a double-wide trailer in Georgia.

THE FACTS: A law enforcement operation in August did locate 39 children in Georgia over a two week period, but the children were not all found in one trailer or in a single location. On August 27, the U.S, Marshals Service announced the completion of a two-week operation that located 39 children in Macon, Georgia, and the greater Atlanta area. During “Operation Not Forgotten,” the U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies rescued 26 children and arrested nine people. Law enforcement also located an additional 13 children who had previously been reported missing, and confirmed the children were with the proper custodian. Posts on social media distorted some facts of the operation. “How is finding 39 missing children in a double wide trailer in Georgia NOT the biggest news story in America?” reads a post that has been widely shared and copied on Facebook. But the children were not all found in a double-wide trailer or even in a single location or on a single date, said Dave Oney, a spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service. “The children were found in a variety places — houses, hotel rooms,” Oney told the AP. Other children were located in apartments and “even on the streets,” according to Darby Kirby, chief inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit. Neither Oney or Darby were able to confirm if any of the children had been located in a trailer. Oney said some of the children had been missing for a few days while others had been missing for a couple of years. “Fifteen of the children were identified as victims of trafficking. The other children were victims of parental kidnappings, children who absconded from the Division of Family and Children Services, Department of Juvenile Justice custody, and were believed to be in danger or critically missing,” reads a statement Oney provided to the AP. While social media posts suggest the story about the children found in the trailer is not getting enough attention, that is because the claim about the trailer is false. Operation Not Forgotten was covered by many media outlets, including The Associated Press, CNN, CBS and others.

— Associated Press writer Jude Joffe-Block reported this item from Phoenix.

———

CLAIM: California just passed SB 145, a bill that would end felonies for child rape and legalize pedophilia in the state.

THE FACTS: SB 145, which has passed the California legislature and awaits the governor’s signature, would not legalize pedophilia. It would only give judges expanded discretion to determine whether an adult must register as a sex offender. Under current law, judges can make that decision in cases of voluntary, but illegal, vaginal sex with a minor age 14 to 17 and an adult within 10 years of the minor’s age. SB 145 would expand that law to include voluntary oral and anal sex within the same age parameters. The bill would not apply to any minor under the age of 14, nor would it apply to any age gap larger than 10 years. It also would not apply if either party claims the sex was involuntary. Advocates say the bill makes existing California law more inclusive for the LGBTQ community. The bill has been widely condemned by social media users falsely claiming it would legalize pedophilia. “PEDOPHILIA is now LEGAL in CALIFORNIA,” read a Facebook post viewed more than 8 million times. “Now a 21 year old can have sex with an 11 year old, and not be listed on the sex registry as a sex offender. This is unbelievable California!” Posts making such claims fundamentally misrepresent what SB 145 does, according to the bill’s authors and outside experts. Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School, called the claims “hogwash” in an interview with The Associated Press. “The accusation that it somehow allows pedophilia is simply not true,” Levinson said. Also, contrary to false posts on social media, the bill would not apply when a minor is under the age of 14, when the age gap is larger than 10 years, or when either party says the sex was not consensual. If passed, the bill would “bring much-needed parity” to California sex offender registration law, according to a statement from Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who drafted the bill. “This bill allows judges and prosecutors to evaluate cases involving consensual sex acts between young people, regardless of their sexual orientation, on an individual basis,” the statement said. The bill did face opposition in the legislature by some lawmakers, including Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who said she thought the 10-year age gap was too broad. The bill has passed both houses of the California legislature and awaits a signature from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Follow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheck

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Source: https://thebrunswicknews.com/ap/national/not-real-news-a-look-at-what-didnt-happen-this-week/article_c4eeed60-2b74-5f81-b208-77b5d03f853f.html

Restore Georgia voices call to boycott USA TODAY

If you have ever read the USA Today or stayed at a hotel where it is offered, you are going to be shocked to learn that they have caused a Veteran and Native American to lose a janitorial contract with the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital outside of Chicago because, you guessed it, he is on the registry.

An “investigative reporter” named Josh Salman took it upon himself to single out Mr. Ezekiel Lopez and refer to him as a “sexual predator” in his article.  Mr. Lopez started his own janitorial company with his second chance and was recently awarded  a very large contract to provide janitorial services to the hospital.  Mr. Lopez was vetted and fully qualified for this contract.  After much public shaming by “reporter” Josh Salman and the USA Today, the VA decided to cancel Mr. Lopez’s contract.

In his “investigative piece” the “reporter” used Mr. Lopez’s testimony in court about his crime and went as far as to list his Date of Birth and Home Address in a nationally published newspaper.

Click here to read the USA Today article

While this story does not involve someone on the Registry in Georgia, we feel that the USA Today could use its national reach to destroy the life of someone in our state.  We are asking for you to put the USA Today and its partners/advertisers on notice.  You can do that in one or more of the following ways:

Cancel your Subscription

If you are currently subscribed to the USA Today, you can call 1-800-872-0001 to cancel your subscription.  Be sure to tell them that you are canceling because of Josh Salman’s hit piece on 8/11/2020.

Contact the USA Today

Contact the Reporter

Write to “reporter” Josh Salman at [email protected].  You can also call him at (941) 361-4967.  Let him know how you feel about his questioning “whether a child sex offender should be able to land lucrative public contracts funded by taxpayers.”  Be sure to educate him about mislabeling people on the registry as “child sexual predators.”

Contact the Advertisers

There is a giant advertisement for Duracell running along with this article.  It would appear that Duracell, a Chicago based company, is supporting this type of “journalism.”  If you would like to let Duracell know that you don’t support businesses that enable these types of attacks on returning citizens, you can do so by contacting Ankur Marwah, their Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing.  His email address is [email protected].

Contact Hotels that provide USA Today to guests

If you are a member of or plan to stay at any of the following Hotel chains, consider calling them and asking them to end their relationship with USA Today because the paper is destroying lives and harming the community.

  • Hilton Worldwide (Home 2 Suites, Homewood Suites, Hampton, Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites, DoubleTree, Hilton Hotels & Resorts) – 1 (800) 445-8667
  • Mariott – 1 (800) 535-4028
  • Hyatt – 1 (800) 323-7249

Madison County sex offender loses $1,000 to scammer posing as deputy

madison-county-sex-offender-loses-$1,000-to-scammer-posing-as-deputy

Jul 28, 2020 at 12:18 PM

A Colbert man on the sex offender register was scammed out of $1,000 recently after he received a phone call demanding money from a man he believed was a ranking deputy with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

The scam — common in Northeast Georgia where callers assume names of actual officers in various agencies — took place Saturday afternoon while the man was working in Oconee County, according to a Madison County sheriff’s report.

The 34-year-old man told deputies that the caller identified himself as a lieutenant in the sheriff’s office who had a warrant for the man’s arrest for failing to re-register on the sex offender’s registry.

The man told the deputy he believed he was talking to an actual officer and he complied with the man’s orders to purchase $1,000 in gift cards and provide him with the activation numbers.

The caller also demanded to remain on the phone while the victim drove to his home in Colbert to obtain the cash, according to the report. The man then went to a Dollar General and purchased Green Dot cards totaling $1,000.

The man did not realize he had been defrauded until he contacted his probation officer to make sure there was not an active warrant for his arrest, according to the report.

The responding deputy called the number provided by the caller and he listened to a voicemail that claimed to be the sheriff’s lieutenant.

The deputy, who reported he has spoken to the named lieutenant countless times, knew that “without a shadow of doubt,” the voicemail recording was not made by the lieutenant.

Sheriff’s Capt. Jimmy Patton said Monday that it appears con artists working this scheme take information off agency websites to make the calls appear legitimate.

Law enforcement officers constantly warn citizens to be wary of any caller asking for money on gift cards.

Source: https://www.onlineathens.com/news/20200728/madison-county-sex-offender-loses-1000-to-scammer-posing-as-deputy?rssfeed=true

Restore Georgia urges all county Sheriffs to suspend in-person sex offender registration

Today, Restore Georgia, an organization representing the 23,000 citizens on Georgia’s Sexual Offender Registry, mailed a letter to Executive Director J. Terry Norris of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds, and all 159 Sheriffs across our state urging them to implement strategies to reduce COVID-19 exposure among law enforcement officials and those required to register, as well as their families at home and the broader community.

During the annual registration verification process, people are required to be photographed and fingerprinted in-person. This hands-on registration process places officers at risk by forcing them to place hands on potentially dozens of people each day.

Restore Georgia is calling upon the Sheriffs of all Georgia counties to:

  • Suspend in-person registration requirements;
  • Waive or suspend enforcement of housing proximity restrictions;
  • Waive or suspend arrests and prosecutions for failure-to-comply offenses;
  • Suspend fees for registration;
  • Suspend in-person address verification.

Sheriffs departments across the State of Georgia should suspend rules and policies that are not essential to public safety or that contribute to the spread of COVID-19. These strategies allow law enforcement, on the front-lines of this catastrophe to dedicate more of their limited resources toward crisis intervention and emergency assistance.

Click here to read the letter.

Inside look: Forsyth County’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit


ICAC in the Forsyth Co. Sheriffs Office was recently recognized as one of the top units in the state.

CUMMING, Ga. — The Internet Crimes Against Children Unit or ICAC at the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is doing things a little bit differently in targeting sexual predators.

But it’s caught attention – the unit was recently recognized for their outstanding work by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.

In the fall of 2019, the unit made 24 arrests during an undercover operation called “Operation Just Cause.”

It led to the arrests of suspected predators, as young as 19 and as old as 65. Most were from North Georgia, but others traveled to Forsyth County from surrounding states to meet children.

Detectives in the task force say that operation is just one example of the work they are doing everyday.

“We handle sometimes 40 cases at one time, and the national average for a deputy in any given department is about 20,” says Detective Jeffrey Roe, an investigator at the Forsyth County Sheriffs Office.

Roe said he believes a major component to their success is attention to detail and the talent of their team.

“I was so humbled to be recognized by GBI, but it’s the combined efforts of each team member that makes our success possible,” he said.

Lt. Ben Finley, the North Patrol Division Commander at the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, said the unit also is the first in the state to use drone technologies in these types of crimes.

“It has been hugely successful for us, and it helps us communicate with our undercover officers on the ground about a suspects whereabouts for a smoother arrest,” Finley explained.

Both Roe and Finley said they place a emphasis on understanding that there is no “type” for a sexual predator.

“In my 18 years of doing this, we come across all types – young or old,” Roe said. “We’ve arrested law enforcement officers, judges and even pastors.”

Both men also attribute the unit’s success to focusing on singularity and assigning one task to each member of the team, in order to eliminate multi-tasking errors. The agency said they have anywhere from 40 to 100 officers working on an operation, at any given time.

The agency also is a big proponent of collaboration, often working with other agencies across Georgia and bordering states to make arrests. Unit officials said that internet crimes against children continue to worsen and evolve, which is why they focus on community engagement.

Detective Roe said he speaks at area schools to inform parents and families of the dangers of social media and peer pressure online. Roe said he also works to debunk terms like “kiddy” porn and child porn, because “these are sexual abuse crimes, and we want to make people aware of the gravity of that term and to make parents pro-active.”

Source: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/mynews/cumming/internet-crimes-against-children-unit/85-ff95732f-cb09-44e5-9534-5da79fb1fbc1

Visitors at Lowndes Co. Schools required to show ID for sex offender check

visitors-at-lowndes-co.-schools-required-to-show-id-for-sex-offender-check

By Ri’Shawn Bassette | November 18, 2019 at 11:12 PM EST – Updated November 19 at 12:01 AM

LOWNDES CO., Ga. (WALB) – The new Lowndes County School System’s ID system checks all visitors to see if they’re on the national sex offender registry. It’s being implemented all across the county school system, including the Board of Education.

Everyone is required to have their ID checked against the sex-offender registry at all Lowndes County Schools.

Everyone is required to have their ID checked against the sex-offender registry at all Lowndes County Schools. (Source: WALB)

“I’ve never had to show my ID until today,” said Raymond Walker.

Walker is a father od a student at Hahira Middle School. He said that he forgot his ID walking up to the school.

Principal Ivy Smith said he wasn’t the first to do so since they’ve implemented the new system over the last couple of weeks.

Raymond Walker is the father of a student at Hahira Middle School.

Raymond Walker is the father of a student at Hahira Middle School. (Source: WALB)

“It’s just an added safety measure for our students and our staff,” said Smith.

Still getting used to new the process that checks for sex offenders, Walker entered the school and had to run back to his car to get his ID. He said he didn’t mind at all because he’s proud of the school system for taking added steps to ensure everyone’s safety.

“I think it’s a great idea. I really admire the steps they’re taking to keep all of the children safe,” said Walker. “You have so many school shootings, people coming in that’s not even supposed to be there and wreaking havoc on everybody involved. I just think it’s a great idea. Every step they can take to make the school safer, I’m all in for it.”

Similar to how Smith said she’s all in, being that it’s her duty to ensure the safety of the entire campus.

“The world we live in, in this day and age, you cannot be overprotective. Having this added measure certainly makes me feel safe and makes me feel more comfortable overseeing the safety of our students and staff,” said Smith.

Principal Ivy Smith

Principal Ivy Smith (Source: WALB)

Smith said that she thinks the new system is just a testament to student safety being the top priority of the Lowndes County School System.

“I foresee that we will use it for several years. I’m sure as technology expands, there may be a time where we are searching other things other than what it currently is. I think moving forward, we’re on the right path,” said Smith.

Walker said that any school across the nation not using a system like this one needs to get it.

School leaders said that those that don’t have proper ID or that come up flagged, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Copyright 2019 WALB. All rights reserved.

Source: https://www.walb.com/2019/11/19/lowndes-co-schools-visitors-required-show-id-sex-offender-check/

Proposed homeless home generates concerns

proposed-homeless-home-generates-concerns

Cindy Supernaw has fond memories of her days as a seventh-grader at Frederica Academy when the school was located in what is now Harpers Joy, a home for the mentally disabled in Brunswick’s downtown historic district.

Frederica Academy held classes for several years in the building after the old Brunswick hospital closed. She’s seen a lot of changes since Frederica Academy moved to St. Simons Island and the building was repurposed as a home for the mentally disabled called Harpers Joy more than two decades ago.

Supernaw lives in a house less than a half block away from Harpers Joy, and like many living in the surrounding area, she has never had a complaint about the residents and believes they are good neighbors.

In fact, when the state tried to close Harpers Joy in 2012, neighbors rose up to express their support for keeping the facility open. After months of protests, and with the help of then State Rep. Alex Atwood, the state backed down and kept Harpers Joy open.

What has dismayed Supernaw and many others is a proposal to turn Harpers Joy into an apartment complex for the homeless. And she’s not alone.

A petition started after last week’s meeting has already generated more than 670 signatures opposing the creation of a homeless home at the old hospital.

There are lots of concerns about how surrounding neighborhoods will be affected if Hand in Hand of Glynn, Inc. goes forward with plans to convert the building, she said.

Critics of the proposal say the old hospital building, located on Norwich Street, is too far from the commercial district downtown — about eight blocks away — for residents to walk through residential neighborhoods to shop, work or go to doctors appointments.

Some have also expressed concerns about the potential for an increase in crime, loitering, noise late at night and the difficulty residents will have grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments and job hunting at the location.

“We need a place for the homeless but not in a residential neighborhood,” Supernaw said. “That’s going to screw up this neighborhood.”

Another neighborhood resident, Melanie Page, said she is concerned the park across the street from the old hospital building will become a magnet for the homeless.

“It’s a bad idea,” she said. “There are no services close to here. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Page said a homeless home should also come with mental health services for some of the residents, which was not mentioned at the meeting by the Hand in Hand of Glynn representatives who spoke. Hand in Hand became a registered charity in Georgia in February and there is no contact information other than a post office box address. Nobody from Hand in Hand could be reached Wednesday for comment.

Anne Stembler, of St. Simons Island, one of the Hand in Hand members who explained the project to a sometimes hostile audience last week, said volunteers have raised more than $500,000 for the project, estimated to cost about $3 million to renovate the building.

What attracted organizers was the building already had 24 efficiency apartments with electricity metered by unit, sprinklers and security cameras already system in place, a recent inspection by the fire department and proper zoning.

Organizers said they would be selective on who would live in the complex. Sex offenders and people convicted of violent crimes would not be eligible to live in the building. Overnight guests would not be allowed and visitors would be required to show identification prior to entering the building, which will have security around the clock.

Supernaw said the current use of the building as a home for the mentally disabled would be ideal. But Gateway officials who manage the property said they have already moved out about one third of the residents, and they plan to move the remainder in coming months.

But if Harpers Joy is determined to move, Supernaw had another suggested use for the building.

“I think the use they have now is the right one,” she said. “It would make a great loft. Even just an apartment complex would be great.”

Source: https://thebrunswicknews.com/news/local_news/proposed-homeless-home-generates-concerns/article_b63986a9-7760-59c5-bbc7-cf3240d876af.html

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