Joseph Park will never forget the round of applause he received on the day he went to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office to have his ankle monitor removed. He flashed a smile at the crowd in the sheriff’s office. Like Park, these were convicted sex offenders who were about to set free from their tracking devices. And Park was the man responsible.
Two years ago, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled in his favor, meaning hundreds of formerly convicted sex predators would be freed of monitoring.
“It's beyond what I could possibly imagine," Park said, describing his hero's greeting at the sheriff's office. "People were thrilled. Having an ankle monitor is a constant misery you can’t get away from.”
Not everybody is so thrilled. Many sex-victim advocates didn't know about the rule change until State Affairs brought it to their attention. They worry that the absence of ankle monitors will embolden convicted predators to commit more sex crimes.
“I think it’s very upsetting,” said Gayla Nobles, executive director of the nonprofit Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center serving 15 counties south of Atlanta. “We’re not protecting our victims very well by not affording every resource we can by keeping these predators away from innocent victims.”