BEAUFORT, N.C. (WNCT) – District Attorney Scott Thomas Jerry Faircloth, 52, of Newport, was convicted following a jury trial of being a sex offender unlawfully on premises.
Faircloth, who was previously convicted in 2008 of crime against nature and sexual battery, is a registered sex offender, subject to the residence, employment, travel, and other restrictions on sex offenders required by North Carolina law.
One of those restrictions is that sex offenders are barred from being on premises of any place that is primarily for the use, care, or supervision of minors, including schools, children’s museums, child care centers, nurseries, and playgrounds.
Immediately following Hurricane Florence, Carteret County Probation Officers went through the county, looking for any probationers who had been displaced by the storm.
One of the places they went to was the Newport Middle School, which was designated as one of two storm shelters in the area.
An officer recognized Faircloth, as he had supervised him on probation previously, and believed he was a sex offender.
The officer in charge of the sex offender registry confirmed that Faircloth was a sex offender, so the officers returned, with a Carteret County Sheriff’s Office deputy, and found Faircloth standing by the front entrance of the school.
They asked if he was staying at the shelter, and he said he was not.
They asked if he had sustained damage at his residence, and he said he had not.
They asked if he needed any shelter services, and he said he did not.
The officers told him to leave, as he was in violation of the sex offender laws by being on the premises of the school.
Although the defendant claimed to have been visiting a family member who was in mental distress, the officers spoke with the family member, who showed no signs of distress in their presence.
Carteret County Deputy Sheriff Harold Pendergrass obtained a warrant charging Faircloth with being a sex offender unlawfully on certain premises.
The jury found Faircloth to be guilty of the charge against him.
Faircloth then pled guilty to the status of habitual felon, having at least three separate felony convictions on his record.
Judge Willey then sentenced Faircloth to a prison term of seven years to more than nine years.