Billboards Put Heat on Sex Offenders

By: Cheryl Lasseter, WLBT-TV
By: Cheryl Lasseter, WLBT-TV

A 21-month-old baby remains hospitalized in Jackson after violent sexual abuse. Twenty-two-year-old Columbus Buchanan is charged in the crime, and last month, Eric Moffett was sentenced to death for the sexual abuse and murder of five-year-old Felicia Griffin. In both cases, the accused is the boyfriend of the child's mother.

"If a mother's living with a boyfriend, children are 33 times more likely to be abused and 70 times more likely to be fatally abused," said Department if Human Services Director Don Taylor.

Taylor says he's paying close attention to all statistics on child sexual abuse. In fact, billboards like this are going up in heavily populated areas across the state. Each billboard has pictures of two convicted sex offenders, their age when they committed the crime, and the victim's age.

The billboards are designed to remind us that plenty of sexual predators are out there and to possibly deter the crime.

A billboard near Byram will be seen by 40,000 drivers every day. Two other billboards will be erected in Hattiesburg and Gulfport.

More than 90 of the smaller billboards will be scattered across Mississippi.

Taylor said he hopes the spotlight on the problem will make some would-be offenders think twice.

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