Labeled for life: Part 2 - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Labeled for life: Part 2

By Kevin Wheeler - bio | email Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Our society can be one of uncertainty. You may never really know who someone is or what they have or have not done.

Bobbie Perkins, a Laurel resident for 28 years said she knows her community quite well.

“We have quite a few sex offenders in our neighborhood which many people might not be aware of,” said Perkins.

 Perkins is a victim of sexual assault and said that incident changed her life.

 “I dealt with it for a while and it bothered me for some years, but I just trust in the lord, that it never happens to me or nobody else again,” Perkins added.

 She said the man convicted of the crime is in jail. Perkins receives a letter informing her when he is up for parole.

 “As far as I know, I’m hoping and praying that he is not out, because I would like to know whenever he is released,” said Perkins.

 Perkins said she is very aware of her surroundings now and has taken the necessary step to be safer, but even that does not change how she feels about convicted sex offenders. 

 “Sex offenders need a place of their own,” said Perkins. “I mean they don't need to be around society because we don't know who they are, so we don't know what to expect."

 Our search led us to the residence of an offender living on Duke Avenue in Hattiesburg. None of the neighbors we spoke with knew that a registered offender lived on the street.

 It concerns me, but I wouldn't be alarmed by seeing him,” said Pamela Bolar. “I mean if he walked up to me, it's good to know who he is."

 I asked Bolar why she was not alarmed when many people would be.

 “Even though he has done what he's done, who hasn't done wrong,” said Bolar. “He didn't have to have gone to that extreme, but we all have done wrong in our lives, so should we really point a finger?”

 Richard Samerson, who also lives on Duke Avenue, said a registered sex offender is the least of his concerns.

 "I’m a single man, and I don't think he'll mess with me,” Samerson laughed. “These other people they ought to be looking at that."

 We spoke with the registered offender’s grandmother off camera who said her grandson helps her around the house and does not bother anyone. Samerson confirmed that and said there are more serious issues in his community.

 “You got more than that just running around here,” said Samerson. “You got other crime scenes going on and basically I wouldn't have known what I know now if you wouldn’t have told me.”

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