0

Registered sex offender pastor of church

BLAKELY, Ga. -- A registered sex offender became a pastor Saturday at a Blakely church, and a vocal opponent of the appointment was tossed out of the congregation Sunday.

Perez Blackmon became pastor at Rosinvick Missionary Baptist Church, 3614 Rockmine Road, after the majority of the congregation voted him in, said Seaborn Blackmon, a member of the church and the pastor's brother.

The Early County Sheriff's Office website earlycountysheriff.com lists Perez Blackmon as a registered sex offender. The website adds that he was convicted Feb. 17, 2005 in Early County for statutory rape.

Blackmon was sentenced to 15 years probation, according to the website.

That is about all members of the church seem to agree on. To Milton Davis, an outspoken opponent of Perez Blackmon's appointment, it is wrong and illegal to have a registered sex offender in close proximity to children in the church.

To the pastor's brother, it is not wrong nor does it violate the rules of probation under which Perez Blackmon must live.

"There is nothing in his probation or in the law of the land that says my brother cannot work in the church," Seaborn Blackmon said. "This is all about revenge because he (Davis) was no longer wanted in the church and was thrown out of the church."

According to Sex Offender Proximity Restrictions supplied by the Early Sheriff's Office, no residency restrictions apply to Perez Blackmon. Nor do employment restrictions apply because the crimes occurred prior to June 4, the proximity restrictions stated.

Probation restrictions trump the proximity restriction rules.

"If it is part of his probation that he cannot be in the church, that probation rule applies until he comes off probation," said Christie Jones, sex offender registrar with the Early sheriff's office.

Davis faxed court documents to The Albany Herald stating that Blackmon did not admit guilt but had pleaded to a statutory rape charge rather than face a jury on charges of child molestation and rape.

On the statutory rape guilty plea, Blackmon was given 120 days in jail and 15 years on probation.

An Order Modifying Condition of Probation among the faxed court documents stated, "Additional Conditions of Probation -- Sex Offenders" be modified so that Blackmon "shall have no contact whether directly in person or indirectly through any means of communication or employment, volunteer activity or otherwise with any child under the age of 18."

Davis said that having Blackmon preach standing in front of a choir with children and the handshaking contact Blackmon has with children at services violates this provision of Blackmon's probation.

Michael Hornsby, who is located in Seminole County, is Blackmon's probation officer. He would not comment on why Blackmon's probation was supervised in a different county or on the terms of Blackmon's probation.

"It is our department policy to make no comment," Hornsby said.

A meeting with Hornsby about Blackmon's possible violation of probation has been set for September, Davis said. Meanwhile, he and the church are probably headed for a series of legal actions against each other, he added.