School security system credited for arrest of registered sex off - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

School security system credited for arrest of registered sex offender

Security systems in Brunswick County schools require visitors to scan their license. The program has only been in place for about six months, and officials say it's great to see it's paying off. Security systems in Brunswick County schools require visitors to scan their license. The program has only been in place for about six months, and officials say it's great to see it's paying off.
James Fowler (Source: Brunswick Co. Sheriff's Office) James Fowler (Source: Brunswick Co. Sheriff's Office)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A registered sex offender was arrested Monday for trying to attend an awards ceremony at Supply Elementary. Officials with Brunswick County schools are crediting their security system for alerting them.

The man the caught, James Fowler, is no stranger to time behind bars though. He was featured on NBC's To Catch a Predator in 2007 for driving nearly two hours to meet up with who he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

Fowler was convicted of the crime in 2009, but during the show, he also admitted he was arrested in 1995 for a similar offense:

Chris Hansen: Now, you know this is a 13-year-old girl?

James Fowler: Yeah.

Chris Hansen: You talk about how having sex for the first time may be painful for the girl … and        then you sent these pictures.

James Fowler: Yeah.

Chris Hansen: You ever been in trouble before? (pause) You have been?

James Fowler: Yeah.

Chris Hansen: What was the actual criminal charge against you?

James Fowler: Having sex with a minor.

Chris Hansen: Having sex with a minor? OK.

Most recently though, Fowler was registered in Bolton, Columbus County. Officials say he was at Supply Elementary Monday to attend an awards ceremony with a friend who had a child at the school.

"We think that all individuals who are on the sex offender registry would understand that it's absolutely a felony to come onto a school property," Jessica Swencki with Brunswick County Schools said. "It was a little mind blowing that someone would actually do this, and perhaps they didn't understand the sophistication we had as far as our system."

Registered sex Offenders can attend activities with special permission from a school's principal, but there are other factors that are necessary.

Security systems in Brunswick County schools require visitors to scan their license. The program has only been in place for about six months, and officials say it's great to see it's paying off.

"This is the first opportunity Brunswick County has actually had a real life situation in its school system," Swencki said. "It keeps our kids safe, our hallways safe, and our schools safe."

While the system gives instant feedback about the whether or not a visitor is a registered sex offender, it does take a few minutes for each person to check in. That's why officials are urging parents, especially, to get to school early if they are trying to attend upcoming awards ceremonies and events.

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.

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