Tuesday, October 14, 2008

James Lee Garner - Repeat Sex Offender - Library Predator

The Coweta County sex offender arrested in December 2007 at the Senoia Library for accessing "child erotica" on a public computer has pleaded guilty in the incident.

James Lee Garner entered his plea on Monday in Coweta Superior Court before Judge William F. Lee to violating the sex offender registry by loitering, two counts of sexual exploitation of children and criminal attempt at sexual exploitation of children, according to Assistant District Attorney Andrea Newton.

Garner, who was represented by Attorney Macklyn Smith of Gwinnett County, was sentenced to 20 years to serve 10 in prison.

Garner, of Moreland, was convicted of child molestation on June 1, 1995. He registered in Coweta County as a sex offender on May 23, 2005, upon his release from prison.

Garner was arrested again on Dec. 18, 2007, after Sgt. Mike McGuffey of the Coweta County Sheriff's Office caught him in the act of viewing child erotica while in arms reach of children who were there participating in a Christmas-themed storytime.

The sheriff's office became involved after Senoia Library Director Aime Scarbrough noticed Garner coming to the library often and sitting at a computer in a corner of the facility for hours at a time. Scarbrough became suspicious of the man's activities when one day at closing she found a Web browser minimized at the bottom of the screen on his computer after he left that contained inappropriate images. She decided to check the sex offender registry, and realized that it was Garner. She immediately contacted Senoia Police Department officials, who, in turn, notified Garner's probation officer and the sheriff's office.

"Ms. Scarbrough should be solely credited for this," said McGuffey at the time of Garner's arrest. "This is the perfect example of what a person in a position of authority should do when events start standing out and appearing suspicious. She checked the registry, and it paid off."

"25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years"
.........Sarah Tofte

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