Word comes from Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes that the U.S. government has given a $500,000 grant to 6 neighboring piedmont counties to set up a regional task force to hunt for online child predators. Incidentally, the grant goes to some of the more conservative sheriffs in the state: Terry Anderson (Alamance), Sam Page (Rockingham), Maynard Reid (Randolph), David Grice (Davidson), Bill Schatzman (Forsyth) and the aforementioned Barnes.
Internet based perverts need to watch out. North Carolina takes solicitation of child pornography seriously. The penalty was raised last year from an "F" class penalty (10 months minimum) to an "E" class (15 months minimum). Additionally, E felonies require active prison time and post release supervision for sex offenders.
Unfortunately, lawmakers last year didn't consider the act of child molestation as seriously as they did solicitation of child porn. While deliberating the much touted "Jessica's Law", the legislature failed to strengthen the penalty for sexually touching a child. So, even after Sheriff Barnes apprehends the molester, the judge is not required to give them active prison time and is limited to under 2 years confinement.
Expect to see this issue come up again in the legislature.