When one of our community's noted "characters," Horace Don Gresham, attended local board meetings and made a spectacle of himself, people shrugged. When he attended one meeting in transparent shorts with no underwear, according to Newton County Sheriff Joe Nichols, people just snickered.
Now that it has come out that Gresham was and is a convicted sex offender, folks are no longer shrugging or snickering - they are mad and disgusted.
As far as we are concerned there is no crime as vile as committing a sex offence on an unsuspecting child.
These types of crimes are ones that we don't like to think about until it just smacks us between the eyes.
We don't know why a convicted sex offender would have the unmitigated gall to run for public office but Gresham did.
Gresham slipped under the radar because when Georgia passed the toughest sex offender law in the nation in 1996, any felon convicted before that time was not included because they were already convicted under previous laws.
This law was later overturned by the Georgia Supreme Court for being too tough on sex offenders, which is not the case. Laws governing these sick people can never be tough enough.
Gresham wasn't content to be the community character though. His recent actions, including an alleged attempt to bribe another newspaper distributed in our community not to run his story, has again brought shame and disgrace to himself and his family and renewed agony to his victim.
There are currently no background checks for potential elected officials with the exception of the sheriff; this needs to change. The elected officials who can change this are our legislators. This is election time; now is the right time for you to call your legislator and tell them we want a law passed that will protect us from any more Horace Don Greshams. We need background checks on all potential candidates for office.
There are currently 136 sex offenders registered in Newton County. There may be even more that committed their crime before 1996. To see who they are and to keep your children safe go to www.newtonsherriffga.org. On this site you can see information not only on registered sex offenders but other inmates as well.
Mr. Gresham, we request that you respectfully withdraw your name from the race for the Newton County Board of Education immediately and possibly find another community to call your home.