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Jacksonville day care under investigation after sex offender uses its address

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JACKSONVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- Little Footsteps Child Care, a Jacksonville day care, is on the radar after a homeless sex offender used his brother's address as his own mailing address.

Anise Dowell, 18, allegedly told police his brother's home was where they could send his mail.

The homeowner, Pete Dowell, says he took care of his younger, adopted, brother like he was his own son growing up. He says after their relationship took a turn for the worse this year, his family no longer associates with Anise.

Since a young age, the Dowell family says they always knew something was off with Anise, but he always had structure in his life, which kept him in line. When Anise turned 18, he enlisted in the military.

"We figured going into the military and having structure would help him even out, obviously it didn't work," Pete said.

Anise was kicked out of boot camp according to his brother. When Anise called his mother to come home after being released, in the beginning of this year, she said no, leaving him homeless.

The Dowell family says in January, Anise ended up in jail, after having inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old girl.

Last Wednesday, Pete got a knock on his door from an Onslow County detective looking for his younger brother.

"We even asked him what he was here looking for Anise, 'cause we have nothing to do with him," Pete said.

Anise neglected to register as a sex offender after getting out of jail.

"There is no sex offender at this house. My brother has never lived here. He's never had this as his address with our permission," Pete said.

According to the Onslow County Sheriff's Office, Anise has used his brother's address three times since March.

Pete's wife, Michelle, has operated Little Footsteps Child Care from their Jacksonville home for 13 years.

Pete and his wife said as soon as the Department of Health and Human Services was notified a sex offender could possibly be living with them, the Division of Child Development and Education came to investigate.

"She's taking care of other people's children and she's being investigated for harboring a sex offender," Pete said. "It's just very stressful to have somebody accuse you of doing something wrong like that. My wife loves children; that's why she's in this business."

Pete says he has no idea where his brother is staying, or what he is doing.

"I pray every day that he will get help and I can be a part of his life again," Pete said.

Dowell says that if the county can send a detective out to a home to look for a criminal, they should also be able to send one out to make sure that criminal can stay at that home, or at least use it as a mailing address.

He also said the Division of Child Development and Education told his wife that it would be back to check on the residence multiple times to ensure Anise is not a resident at their home.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Good Grief!

You mean to tell me there is NO vetting of addresses given by sex offenders?!? And put unfortunate folks like Mr. Dowell & his family AND business at risk?? Surely this process needs to be refined with the Sheriff's office, and the registry in general.

UNDER the Radar??

I get a kick out of these, young, reporters trying to be cute with the (improper) use of, common, everyday, idioms. If this daycare has the, unfortunate, problem of being part of a criminal investigation (though no fault of their own), then they are not UNDER the radar. They are ON the radar. Media outlets put to much emphasis on being first to publish a story instead of correctly and professionally publishing it. The expected reply, to this post, would be, "but you knew what the reporter was trying to say". My reply........It would be better if an editor would help the reporter say what she meant.

Wilmington Observer

Small market, low expectations

Happens all the time here. No real excuse for it happening on such a consistent basis. Seems like if you live in a small market, you really can't count on being provided with accurate, professional reporting anymore. Very frustrating.

The Policy must be changed

Hi, I’m Pete Dowell and the report is about my family. My family and I are very thankful that we were able to let the public know how our home / daycare ended up on the sex offender registry for a few hours. The report focused more on my families’ relationship with my estranged brother but the real purpose of my telling our story was to get Sheriff Ed Brown and the Onslow County Sheriffs Dept. to change their policy of letting sexual offenders use any address as a mailing address or home of record. In this day and age a person can not get a library card without showing a bill or identification. How can the Sheriffs Depart. let sexual offenders use someone’s address without approval from the homes owner. When a sexual offender uses someone’s address their homes address gets listed on a national registry that anyone can use to identify the sexual predators in their area. Under the current policy anyone’s home could be registered and listed as the home of a sex offender. Imagine a sex offender uses your address unknown to you; now imagine what your friends, neighbors, and business associates might think of you. Your way of life and the lives of your family could be affected negatively because the Onslow County Sheriffs Dept. does not get approval from the home owner before they let sexual offenders use an address. I in know way want Sheriff Ed Brown or his hard working deputies to think that I or my family is against them in anyway. I have met Sheriff Brown and many of his deputies and they seem to be fine upstanding people. I (the little guy) would just like to get my point across that a simple policy change could help further protect other law abiding people in our area like myself.

Wouldn't be difficult to fix

Seems to me, sending a simple 1 page letter stating "so and so has registered this address as being a resident here, please contact us if this is incorrect" would have assisted in this situation before it escalated. I bet they would find other instances like yours, where people had no idea someone was using their address in the registry. This would likely keep better tabs on some of these people and wouldn't be all that difficult to do. A computer could even place the name and address on an already typed generic letter.

Pete-

I feel bad for you and your family.
This is an outrage and your situation is even worse because a business is at risk.

Just be advised that State Rep Thom Goolsby's sex trafficking law requires pimps (sex traffickers) to register as well.

So, I'm sure we'll see more of this.......

Vog

The Problems Continue

We just found out that after 13yrs of quality service with no problems that my wife will have a COMPLAINT INVESTIGATION listed under her childcare business when parents looking for care go to the DCD Childcare Facility search http://ncchildcaresearch.dhhs.state.nc.us/Visits.asp?Facility_ID=6700103...
After talking to the assigned inspector my wife was assured that the Complaint Investigation would not be coming off her clean (until now) public childcare record. We are trying to be understanding. We do understand that every accusation of this kind must be investigated, but the investigation on my wifes daycare is clearly a mistake. The officer who registers the sex offenders was responsible enough after making a mistake to call The Division of Child Development and explain the situation. My wife has no problems with complying with the investigation but for my wifes record to be blemished is really sad. If anyone has access to people who maybe able to help us please contact me at daycare000@hotmail.com

I made some progress

On Friday morning 5/3/2013 The Sheriff gave me a call. The Sheriff started by stating the facts as he knew and saw them and then gave me time to voice my facts and voice my opinion. While the Sheriff did not say that he was going to change the policy he did seem to be receptive to opinion. The people at DCD responded to my call and we were asked to submit facts and statements for review. After reviewing my wifes case DCD dropped the investigation on my wifes daycare and removed the negative addition from my wifes Childcare License. We would like to thank everyone for your support. Please don’t let something like this happen to you and your family. Contact the Sheriffs Office and ask for their sexual offender address policy to be changed.

Getting Better

Sheriff Ed Brown called me yesterday morning 5/3/2013. Sheriff Brown stated the facts the way he knew and saw them and then listened to what I had to say. Sheriff Brown never quite said that he was going to change their policy but I do understand that a guy in his position can't admit blame. I did get the feeling from our talk that he was receptive to my policy change. Also the people at DCD have dropped the investigation on my wifes daycare and removed the blemish on her record. Thank you everyone for helping us through what could have been a career ender for my wife.
Pete

Back UNDER the radar.......

You would think that the, additional, problems the daycare is apparently having, would be a follow up story that WWAY would assign to an Investigative Reporter who would hound the Division of Child Development so that the daycare could return to the position of "under the radar".

Does WWAY even have investigative reporters anymore or has everyone been replaced with recent grads who don't have the experence of rattling cages?

Wilmington Observer