Labeled for Life: Part 1 - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Labeled for Life: Sex Offenders in the Pine Belt

By Kevin Wheeler - bio | email Twitter

Hattiesburg, MS (WDAM) - Our search started on the Internet, where we found Mississippi’s Department of Public Safety Web site.

You can find registered sex offenders in your area by county.  Our focus was on Jones and Forrest counties.

 Sixty people are registered in Jones County and 88 are registered in Forrest County.  We randomly selected a few people.  Our first was Leslie Moffett, Jr., convicted of statutory rape in 2004 in Jones County. 

We went to his neighborhood and the first thing we noticed was a daycare center nearby.  The owner Laurie Hodge asked us what we were doing.

We explained our story to Hodge. “I was told that he lived back there and that he was a sex offender,” said Hodge.

Hodge told us she has questioned the police about Moffett, but she said no one ever spoke with her about him.

“It's a grave concern to me because I have a business to protect children,” said Hodge. “I don't want him anywhere near children or around women."

Shunda Evans lives a few hundred feet away from Moffett.  She told us she has seen Moffett around, but she said she did not know much about him.

“You never know who your neighbors are these days until that right there,” said Evans. She said she will pay closer attention to her surroundings now.

“It would scare me if I was to go outside to take out some trash or whatever and you never know where he might be looking,” said Evans.

Evans and Hodge said they have not experienced any problems from Moffett, but they said him living near them is still a concern.

 We knocked on Mr. Moffett’s door, but no one was home at the time.

Our next offender was Bradley Mitchel Green.  He was convicted of touching a child for lustful purposes in 2001.

Robert Williamson lives on the same road as Green and he was aware of his conviction. He said he has known green since he was a child.

"What do you think about this has it concerned you?” I asked.

“Not too much for this one particular one because I’m not sure of the whole story,” said Williamson.

The day turned out to be one of mixed reactions, but I was able to get a better grasp of how and why people feel the way they do about those labeled as a sex offender.

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