One of the new owners of Lilly’s Pizza, a popular restaurant in Durham, is a registered sex offender, and some people in the community are now calling for a boycott of the business. 

Jamie Greaves is one of three owners of this restaurant and is also a registered sex offender. WNCN wanted to know if owning a restaurant, as a sex offender, is illegal in North Carolina.                              

When the news broke that a popular Durham pizza place was changing hands, it didn’t take long for people to start talking about it on social media.

“We all make mistakes,” said Jamie Greaves, Part Owner of the Peabody Pizza Company. “Unfortunately mine was fairly significant and all over the internet.”

Other people say they don’t think a sex offender should be allowed to own a restaurant within walking distance of Durham School for the Arts.

“I’m not the monster the internet has made me out to be,” said Greaves.

According to state law, Greaves isn’t doing anything illegal. In North Carolina, sex offenders cannot live within 1000 feet of a school or go within 300 feet of any place where children are known to gather. Durham School of the Arts is a little less than a mile away from the pizza shop.

“I’ve been in restaurant management for 20 years and I’ve dealt with underage people working for me, working with me, dining in the place and it has never been an issue,” Greaves said. “I have never been inappropriate like that. I can hold true to the promise to everyone that it will not happen again. They will be safe, their kids will be safe.”

Greaves says last year he was on a dating website and started chatting with someone online. He admits the person told him she was underage. According to reports, the person Greaves was chatting with claimed to be a 14-year-old girl.

“I know right from wrong,” said Greaves. “I know what I should’ve done in this situation. I’ve never done anything like this in my life before.”

It turns out the 14-year-old girl was actually a Boone detective working undercover. Greaves was convicted and put on the registry last January.

‘“We’re just trying to live our lives and do what we love doing,” Greaves said. “Everything we have done has been by the law and we absolutely will continue to operate that way.”

Greaves says he has three other partners and they plan on re-naming the restaurant. He added that he’s hopeful the community will give him a chance.