Botetourt County Neighbors Fight Sex Offender Move
Botetourt Co., VA -One Botetourt County golf community is putting serious pressure on government leaders to help them keep a convicted sexual predator out of their neighborhood. But there's little authorities can do at this point.
It all started when a neighbor in Ashley Plantation was checking out her new neighbor for a home next door that was under contract. She realized that a man with a long history of sexual violence could be moving in and it all snowballed from there.
Over the past few weeks, signs have been popping up in Ashley Plantation, warning people that a potential new neighbor could be Calvert Thompson, 49.
Thompson is a man with a long record of sexual crimes that has led him to being committed as a sexually violent predator who is once again out on the street -- on a Conditional Release Order.
Botetourt County Commonwealth's Attorney Joel Branscom heard of Thompson's potential move when more than three dozen residents implored local and state leaders to help to little avail.
"He has been declared a predator, a sexually violent predator," said Branscom. "He has rights, as do the people of Ashley Plantation. Kind of balancing these rights - that's the issue here."
So the signs started showing up on lawns throughout the neighborhood.
The problem is, using the sex offender registry to harass someone is illegal - a point State Police needed clarified by Branscom, who has also advised neighborhood representatives.
"It's kind of the same purpose of the registry: To inform people of who might be moving in as their neighbor. That's the whole idea we put the registry out there for," said Branscom.
While living in Ashley Plantation does not appear to violate Thompson's conditions, the address Thompson is considering is right across the street from the community pool.
"That's my concern. It's probably not wise for him to be in that situation," said Branscom.
Because none of Thompson's convictions was in Botetourt County, Branscom has no real pull on the move. That decision will fall to the Probation and Parole Office if Thompson's plans continue. Thompson currently resides in a halfway house in Roanoke.