Human rights group pushes to remove juveniles from sex offender - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Human rights group pushes to remove juveniles from sex offender registry

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Annie McFadden has more than 20 grandchildren; all of them giving her sweet memories. But there's one memory she wishes was never made.

"It was a teenage mistake," McFadden said. "And what I liked about him, he didn't try to say, ‘No I didn't.' He didn't lie. He owned up to what he did. But I don't believe he knew the seriousness really of what he was doing."

McFadden's grandson, Cornelius Landburg, is a registered sex offender. He was convicted for aggravated child molestation of a young girl when he was 16. She said it tore the family apart when he went to jail.

"It really broke me down to see what happened," McFadden said. "We cried a lot. I prayed with them: him and her, my daughter, her and him."

Landburg will spend the rest of his life on a sex registry, limiting him from where he can live or spend time, and hindering his ability to get a job.

But a new report by the Human Rights Watch are challenging the law requiring juveniles to be placed in online registries. The report states registered sex offenders are targets of harassment and violence, and adolescents should not be subject to those effects.

"I think it could ruin a lot of children," said Juvenile Justice Judge Doug Flanagan.

In his 13 years of serving as a juvenile justice judge, Hon. Flanagan has placed one juvenile on the sex registry list. He says teens accused of sexual assault come in his courtroom every month, and under Georgia law, he uses discretion with each case.

"If it's a serious sexual offense like child molestation or aggravated child molestation, those children when they come to court receive a psychological evaluation. You know, children are amenable to treatment, unlike adults," Hon. Flanagan said.

Which is what McFadden wants society to understand about her grandson, who's now 23.

"He's my grandson. That's part of my blood running through his veins, and we're taught to love people and not judge, so we leave all that judgment to Jehovah," McFadden said.

She says she still loves Landburg. He knows what he did wrong, paid the consequences and will never make that mistake again.

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