Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Flogging the Brian Bishop

This is Brian Bishop of WCYB 5 News in Virginia. It must be sweeps week so he decided to pick on a homeless registrant for the sake of ratings.. I must say, I'm glad the interviewee told Bishop off. Hearing Bishop's redneck accent is laughable. I suppose I should be satisfied he stopped short of the "P" word but I'm not.

Convicted Sex Offender Found Living In Walmart Parking Lot
By Brian Bishop
POSTED: 11:34 am EDT April 24, 2012

BRISTOL, Va. -- A convicted sex offender sounded off after we found him living in a department store parking lot.
We discovered he gave Virginia authorities the address of a local Walmart as his legal residence. We wanted to know how he did that, so we paid him a visit and found out the store management didn't even know he was there.
Parents are always told to keep a close eye in their kids in public. It turns out a man with a criminal past has been living in a very busy place and no one seemed to know.
"You guys don't deserve to be here with your cameras," the man said after we knocked on the door of his RV. "See what I am getting at? Mind your own business, world."
The man's name is Doug Young, and he wasn't too happy to see us. Young is a convicted sex offender found guilty of three counts of child molestation back in 1985 in Georgia.
Young denies those charges to this day. "I don't think it's fair because people point at you and say 'sex offender, you are dirt. Hey everybody, gossip gossip gossip,'" he said.
Young first came to our attention through a news tip. We checked him out on the Virginia sex offender registry and found he listed his address on Lee Highway. We checked that address and confirmed he was living in an RV on the edge of a Walmart parking lot.
We knocked on his door to ask him about it. "If you haven't walked a mile in my shoes, stay out of my shoes. And stay out of my face," he said. "I am sick and tired of people looking at me and saying I am some sort of pervert. You don't even know me, you don't even know the truth. It's all lies. So give us a break will you?"
Virginia officials tell us they knew where he was, but the Bristol Walmart store manager told us he didn’t know he had set up the RV in their parking lot.
Store manager Greg Cunningham told us they do allow some truckers to park and rest there overnight. "We do allow people to stop and get rest and spend the night, both truck drivers and campers," he explained. "We have quite a few who take advantage of that."
Walmart officials say tractor trailers and RVs are welcome to use their parking lots to get a night's rest. However, when we showed them the Virginia state press release regarding Mr. Young, they assured us they will immediately notify authorities and let them know that this is not his permanent address.
Young did admit to living in the parking lot, but said he never asked for permission to live there. He says he did give authorities the correct address because he was living there.
"You don't have to go out there and tell the public and put people on TV just because they made a stinking mistake," he said. "Get off our backs. The people served time for what they did. [I] deserve after 29 years to be off this stuff."
We contacted Virginia officials about why they didn't know Young was living in the parking lot. After we brought it to their attention, they said they're looking into the matter.
Here's another twist -- Mr. Young had moved his RV by the time we'd finished filming. Since our story, Mr. Young has moved to a nearby campground and he was quick to give authorities his new address.
We will have more on this story and examine the laws on where he was living Tuesday evening on News 5 at 6.

UPDATE: The news station was later schooled by the State Police. Bishop had to eat crow:

Sex Offender Registry Rules Explained
By Brian Bishop
POSTED: 12:36 pm EDT April 25, 2012

BRISTOL, Va. -- On Monday we found convicted sex offender Doug Young living in his RV in a Walmart parking lot.
As the story unfolded, it turns out Virginia State Police and state statutes have no problem with that; police say Young has done nothing wrong.
Doug Young was not happy to see us when we showed up at his RV parked at the Walmart on Lee Highway. We had received a tip from a concerned viewer who said a sex offender was living there.
We went to check and found the RV. He was convicted in 1985 of child sex abuse. He told us he served his time, but denied the crimes.
A Walmart manager told us he had no idea Young was living there. He wondered how a registered sex offender could end up living in such a public place with so many people around.
While it may be surprising to you, it is perfectly legal. We spoke to Public Relations Manager Corinne Geller of the Virginia State Police, and she explained nothing was wrong. "It does happen from time to time. We have a sex offender living under an overpass in the city of Richmond so we have the nearest physical address listed on the website," she said. "We also have one offender who has taken up residency in the national forest and as long as we have the address, he can do that."
Geller says the state did know where he was living and a trooper had been checking on him twice a year. Young was located just where he listed on the state registry -- at the address on Lee Highway. It doesn't matter that it is a parking lot.
"The Virginia Sex Offender Registry is regulated by the legislature," Geller explained. "The legislators are the ones who dictate what is on there for the registrants and for state police to maintain the registry."
Virginia law, and a similar one in Tennessee, says sex offenders can live where they want with restrictions on places where children gather like schools, parks and churches.
We spoke with Commonwealth's Attorney Jerry Wolfe about the matter. "As long as that person reports a valid address, that is all that is required by the statute," he said. "It is my understanding from your report that it had been done in this case. It just happened that the individual gave and address that is a business. The business did not know he was there, but the state knew. That's exactly where you found him."
Now Young has another address, as he's moved to a campground. We're told he was quick to notify authorities of his address change.
Perhaps there, he'll get what he told us he wants -- just to be left alone.
Here's another fact we found out from the state police: troopers don't have any responsibility to inform a business if a sex offender is living in their parking lot.

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