NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office allowed a repeat sex offender to live near a school because they were not aware of the school’s existence, according to a sheriff’s department spokesperson.
WECT started looking into the situation after a viewer brought up concerns about 45-year-old William Sean McHenry, who is registered as a lifetime sex offender. McHenry’s residence is listed in the 100 block of Pine Valley Drive, across the street from a private school.
When first contacted about the violation, a spokesperson with the sheriff’s office said they could not ask McHenry to vacate his residence because the surrounding schools did not fall under the statute’s definition of a “school.”
WECT contacted the district attorney’s office about clarification regarding the law. An official with the DA’s office reviewed the law and said it appeared the schools would qualify.
The district attorney’s office later confirmed that the NHCSO notified McHenry that he would have to move within 30 days.
McHenry was convicted of sexual battery in New Hanover County on Jan. 11. He served less than three months in jail and was required to register as a lifetime sex offender upon his release on April 3, according to the state’s Sex Offender Registry.
McHenry was also previously convicted on three counts of indecent liberties with a minor in Brunswick County back in 2003.