Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ryan Lee Church - Repeat Sex Offender - Preying on kids at Festival

This is the fourth time Church has been charged with a sex crime

A registered sex offender is in jail accused of taking inappropriate pictures of young girls in downtown Augusta.

Ryan Lee Church was arrested Saturday after several parents and teenage girls reported him to investigators at the Arts in the Heart festival.

Richmond County deputies followed Church and caught him using a red camera to photograph the backside of a young girl.

Families come to the Arts in the Heart festival each year to have a good time.Deputies say 44-year-old Ryan Lee Church used the popular event to prey on children.

“I have a son. If I thought someone was taking pictures of him or a girl, I would be outraged,” said a woman at the festival. "I don't know if the police would have gotten to him before I could have," a parent attending the event Sunday said.

"He was spotted in the front stage area then he walked toward the River watch area, a family zone,” Cpl Danny Whitehead with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office said.
This is the fourth time Church has been charged with a sex crime, according to South Carolina’s Sex Offender Registry.

He was first convicted six years ago in South Carolina for committing a lewd act against a 10-year-old girl.
According to the Georgia Sex Offender Registry, Church moved to Richmond County two months ago.

He listed his address as 'homeless' which investigators say is a loophole offenders sometimes use to make it difficult to keep track of them.

This Saturday, however, deputies arrested Church 15 minutes after getting complaints.

"We have [law enforcement] at the front gates we have them roaming around each area,” Whitehead said.

"My applause to Richmond County, because who knows how long he could have been doing what he was doing,” said a mother at the event.

Investigators say this is the first time something like this has happened at the Arts in the Heart festival.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office says it's important to always keep an eye on your children wherever you go.

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

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