She calls it a transitional area. It's five minutes from Uptown. Rodden walks to Panthers games. She loves where she lives. She also considers herself conscientious and somewhat of a community watchdog. Anyone can sign up for them — they let neighbors know when registered sex offenders move in or out of a home nearby. You can imagine Rodden's surprise when within four months, she got eleven email alerts… all about sex offenders moving in and out of one particular house down the street.
It's so respected, participating kids were asked to help a couple weeks ago at the Wells Fargo Championship. Molly looked into it. She found state law says nothing about whether sex offenders have to reside a certain distance away from youth programs like First Tee. Meaning it might have raised Rodden's eyebrows, but legally, it's not an issue. However, law does require registered sex offenders to live more than feet from a playground.
She found it to be feet away. Rodden said she felt comfort in knowing no laws were being broken, but was still concerned as to why so many registered sex offenders would be under one roof. Property records list a corporation in Florida as homeowner, but it turns out the lease-holder is a woman in Charlotte.
Her name is Pastor Denise Lewis. It gives the homeless — and registered sex offenders — a place to live. She says there is a house manager inside the home, 24 hours a day. The program itself is a second chance program, where individuals who are unemployed and coming home from prison with felony convictions are able to live.
We start a comprehensive back-to-work program to help them. The store is filled with donations. Money raised goes towards her charity. No one wants to help. The shelters in Charlotte no longer accept sex offenders. So where are they supposed to go? We had one person we took in — he was told to go stand under a bridge. When we rolled by to check and see if he was there, that was his home.
The other reason is more personal. She says she was raped as a young girl, and is now called to help those who hurt her most. To help those who hurt me the most. It's a free service offered by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office.