Can sex offender live in government housing? Arrest caught on tape - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Can sex offender live in government housing? Arrest caught on tape

Our cameras were rolling when a convicted sex offender was taken off to jail.

WAFF 48 Investigator Jeanie Powell was there for it.

There are two reasons why this man was apprehended. He was wanted not just here in Huntsville, but also by the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office and we can credit a viewer tip because it played a big role in his arrest.

That tip told us that Eric Torez Fletcher was spending too much time in a government housing project here in Huntsville.

A viewer tip suggested Eric Torez Fletcher was living with his girlfriend in a government housing project in northwest Huntsville.

Fletcher is a sex offender, convicted of rape second against a 15-year-old in December of 2004.

We contacted law enforcement and they immediately began investigating.

The WAFF 48 To Catch a Predator team was in the neighborhood following up on the situation and here's what they found.

Neighbors says Fletcher had been staying with his girlfriend. Fletcher was being arrested by Huntsville Police.  His girlfriend and friends says he wasn't staying there.

At that moment, Fletcher was taken into custody on a warrant out of Calhoun County.

He had moved without telling the sheriff's office.

Fletcher was also charged by Huntsville Police for violating the Community Notification Act.

When Jeanie asked the parties who knew him if he stayed there, they denied it and said he wasn't on the lease.

But others tell us even though he didn't receive mail there, he did live there.

But the question is, can a convicted sex offender live in government housing and is there a loophole in the law?

We asked Madison County investigator Shawn McClure:  "As far as they're allowed to live in government housing, that's ok. The law says they can't be within 2, 000 feet of a school or daycare."

The Academy for Academics and Arts sits next door.

McClure says, "In Huntsville, all our government housing has schools located within the 2,000 feet rule so they would be excluded from living in these areas.  By what I understand, when they were first developed, they made the schools or put these government housing facilities within walking distance of schools because it would make it easier for the children to commute back and forth to school without putting the strain on their families."

Legally, Fletcher can visit for up to three days in a row, but no more than 10 total during a calendar month.

But, the bigger component of the law, overrides his visitation rights, because a school is just too close.

McClure says, "We've got a loophole in it and we're correcting the loophole at this time and hopefully at the next legislative session it's gonna close it."

Fletcher's girlfriend says she had no idea he wasn't allowed to visit.

She and friends say he was only in the area a few times, but authorities feel confident he was in violation of the Notification Act.

Meanwhile, Fletcher remains in the Calhoun County jail on multiple holds.

Once he's released, he'll be facing charges here in Huntsville.

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