RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina State Fair is fast approaching and one local group says it’s a waste of time and money trying to keep convicted sex offenders out.
A change in North Carolina law in 2016 banned sex offenders from fairgrounds.
“It’s the modern equivalent of the scarlet letter,” said Robin Vander Wall, president of North Carolinians for Rational Sexual Offense Laws.
Since being convicted of a sexual offense, Vander Wall says he’s been working to remove the stain from his name.
“I’m ashamed that I went to prison,” said Vander Wall. “Prison was nothing compared to being on the sex offender registry.”
That’s why Vander Wall is issuing a challenge to Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker.
“We challenged him not to enforce the ban,” said Vander Wall. “He’s got every right to say, ‘I’m not going to enforce this in my county.’ He clearly does this in other areas.”
However, Baker said he will enforce the law.
“The law says we’re going to keep him out and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Baker.
The sheriff says he will have more than 70 deputies at the fairgrounds night and day.
“It’s an answer searching for a problem,” said Vander Wall.
That’s why Vander Wall says it’s a waste of time and resources to keep sex offenders out.
“If we don’t have the resources, maybe we need to redirect some of the resources we have,” said vendor Jimmy Rice. “This is a lot more important cause to me than a lot of the stuff I see on the 6 o’clock news.”
Baker said it’s about keeping children safe.
“I’m not sacrificing anything considering that,” Baker said.
Baker declined to provide specifics about the plan to keep sex offenders out of the fair, but says multiple agencies are working together on a plan that’s already in place.