A man spotted catching some rays in the Piercefield Forest subdivision’s park on Friday afternoon turned out to be a registered sex offender, which led to his arrest later that day.
Police were first notified by an unknown complainant, who reportedly told them there was a man lying on a picnic table in nothing but his underwear.
“Upon arrival I discovered that the man was actually wearing a pair of shorts. He told me that he was just sunbathing,” Officer Timothy Saia wrote in his report.
When Saia entered Scott William Canfield’s name into the Georgia Bureau of Investigation database, he found Canfield was a registered sex offender for a 1992 conviction for criminal sexual conduct in the second degree.
“I told him that the park was private and only for the use of Piercefield Forest residents. I also explained a lot of kids played there and with his history as a sex offender he should probably not be laying around on the picnic table with nothing on but his shorts. The offender agreed and left the park without incident,” Saia reported.
Saia could not be reached for additional comment.
Later that day, Detective Dana Strickland was put in charge of the case.
“We don’t have a lot of dealings with sexual predators in Richmond Hill,” Strickland said. “The officer was uninformed and didn’t know he needed to arrest the man. Chief (Billy Reynolds) handed it over to us and we arrested him.”
Strickland said under the state code 42-1-12, registered sex offenders cannot legally be in any place where minors congregate, such as public or private parks, swimming pools, etc.
“That is a no-no. And this happened at 3:10 in the afternoon, at the time when kids were getting out of school and that’s definitely not okay,” Strickland said. “Additionally, he didn’t register his location here. He told Chatham County he was homeless living in the Walmart parking lot on Hwy. 17, but we’ve come to find out he was parked in the Days Inn parking lot for the last seven days. As a registered sex offender, he is required to notify the Bryan County Sheriff within 72 hours of coming into the county, which he did not do.”
Strickland said Canfield has been working as a dishwasher at the local Denny’s and was additionally required to notify the Sheriff’s department of his employment, which he hadn’t done.
“We arrested him with those three violations under that code section on Friday and he is still in Bryan County Jail,” Strickland said, noting he wasn’t sure how much bail for Canfield is.
Right now, there are no specific mandates about where a registered sex offender can live in the state of Georgia.
Canfield was convicted in Michigan in 1992 but not incarcerated, according to the GBI. He registered on the GBI database Jan. 30 and last verified his residency on April 7 as homeless in Chatham County. He must continue to register until 2020. To see Canfield’s offender registry and the list of what an act of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree is, visit www.mipsor.state.mi.us/PSORSearchDetails.aspx?oid=8468433 and enter Canfield’s name.