Recently, the single mother of a troubled, teenaged son shared a disturbing story with me. She asked me to pass it on to you with the hope it will help you protect your children.
The story is about a man who met her son through another teenager and instantly befriended him.
The man is a registered sex offender.
He never told her, or her son, about his past. Instead, he worked hard to position himself as the father the boy never had.
He invited the boy over his home to "chill out after work" and, unbeknownst to the mother, offered him beer, cigarettes and other things difficult for a teen to acquire on his own. He told the boy he loved him like a son and would do anything for him.
When the man offered to teach her son to drive a stick shift, she said yes. But when he told her he had a photographer friend in another state that would be interested in photographing her son for a possible modeling contract, she became suspicious.
Operating on her instincts, she pulled up the North Carolina Registry of Sex Offenders on the web and typed in the zip code closest to her home.
There, plain as day was a photo of the man who had become so close to her son.
His lengthy record spoke volumes and her suspicions were confirmed. Fortunately, it was not too late. There are 375 registered sex offenders in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.
The State of North Carolina provides this information on the Internet to anyone who wants to know if their neighborhood is safe for their children.
Check it often. It's free and can help you keep your children safe.