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Sex offender arrested for not registering

By Greg Gelpi

Members of the Clayton County Sheriff's Office fugitive squad arrested Samuel Hopkins Williams, 37, last week for not reporting his change of address.

The convicted child molester had listed his address in Conley at the same location as a Clayton County school bus stop, which caused parents concern over the safety of their children, but he was found to be living in Decatur.

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill learned that Williams hasn't lived at that address for more than two years.

"They are required by law, not only to tell us where they live, but also to tell us when they move," Hill said.

The GBI has a Web site listing information and pictures of convicted sex offenders, but the portion with Clayton County residents falls under the responsibility of the Clayton County Sheriff's Office.

Hill said that he wants to review his office's procedures for updating that list and for checking registered sex offenders to verify that the list is accurate.

Sheriff's office Capt. Greg Haralson, who's assigned to the criminal records division, which is responsible for the list, said that he has had doubts about Williams' address.

"I know that in December I began having suspicions that he didn't live there," Haralson said.

The state mailed a registered letter to Williams at the Conley address in December, but the letter was returned, he said.

"I was in the process of taking a warrant out for him, but he showed up that very day," Haralson said.

When news reports revealed the Conley address, Williams' stepfather who lives at that address called the sheriff's office to say that his stepson doesn't live there, Haralson said.

Charles White, a spokesman for Clayton County schools, had said that the address didn't come up on the Internet as being the home of a registered sex offender when the school system checked the address last school year.

Upon learning that the address is listed as that of a sex offender, White said the school system moved the bus stop and would be changing its procedures regarding how often the school system checks the sex offender registry. The school system had been checking the list once a year.

According to the GBI Web site, Williams was convicted in 1990 for child molestation, although no specifics are given. He registered as a sex offender in 1999.

The bus which had stopped in front of the Conley house had transported students to and from Edmonds Elementary, Forest Park Middle and Forest Park High schools.

Hill said that Williams' mother and stepfather live at the address in Conley.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Williams remained in jail, Hill said.