HARLEM, Ga.---A Georgia sex offender has to move because a daycare is located too close to her home. Wendy Whitaker took her case to fight Georgia residency restrictions on sex offenders to U.S. Federal Court. On Thursday, she lost, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Support is mixed for registered sex offender Wendy Whitaker. Some disagree with the decision and some are happy she must go. Wendy was caught having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old classmate when she was 17. Twelve years later, she's still paying for the crime.
A.L. Wells lives next to registered sex offender, Wendy Whitaker. He agrees with the federal court decision that she must move from her Harlem home. "Whether it happened six months ago, or six years ago or sixty years ago, it's immaterial. It is not something that should have ever happened to start with," says neighbor A.L. Wells.
"People don't understand, you know. They say, well you're a sex offender, you need to be kept track of. You know, look at what I did as compared to what I'm having to go through," Wendy told News 12 in an August interview.
Wendy pleaded guilty to sodomy in 1997 and served five years probation after having consensual oral sex with a classmate. The problem, Wendy was 17 -- the boy only 15.
It's a crime she's still forced to pay for, as a federal court recently upheld a decision to make her move. The newspaper reported that decision came because the judge says there are plenty of legal places Wendy can live. "It's embarrassing. I mean, I know what I did was wrong, I made a mistake but I was seventeen," says Wendy.
Georgia law restricts registered sex offenders from living, working, or loitering within 1,000 feet of where children gather -- like the day care center a few blocks from Wendy's home.
"You almost can't find anywhere to live, here in Georgia. The only reason I'm in Georgia is because I have this house that I own," says Wendy.
But Wendy's neighbor disagrees. "You can not condone it because if you do, it send the wrong message, it's okay. It's not okay," says Wells.
News 12 did try to speak with Wendy Whitaker to get her reaction to the recent decision. But she declined. On Monday, November 17th, the countdown to moving day begins. She'll have just 72 hours until she must be out.
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