Sex crimes committed while a juvenile followed one man to North Carolina all the way from California. Thirty-four-year-old Nigel Garcia was ordered to register as a sex offender after being convicted of sex offenses involving a minor under age 14 when he was himself just a teenager.
Instead of complying with registration requirements, Garcia sought out a new life for himself. He created an alias, moved to North Carolina, got married and was raising a family when local police found out about his criminal past. Garcia was employed in North Carolina as a mechanic and also coached a youth baseball team.
Garcia was not easily arrested; officers had to use a Taser to subdue him as he refused to return to California. His daughter was placed with social services. What happens next is up to the state of California and the District Attorney’s office that would be tasked with prosecuting him for failing to register as sex offender.
The governor of California would have to request extradition of Garcia in order to bring him back to that state for punishment. After rebuilding an entirely new life and having it taken away in an instant, it could be argued that Garcia has already paid dearly for his crimes.
It also raises questions about the usefulness of a sex offender registry. Does it really help protect the public as it was originally intended to do or does it force a person to serve essentially a life or long term sentence as a registered sex offender, with all the limitations that registration creates on moving, employment and being near young children.
In Garcia’s case, he was convicted as a juvenile and forced to register as a sex offender. Once he had freed himself from the restrictions affiliated with being a registered sex offender, he was able to build a life that is seemingly free from repeat offenses and establish himself as a contributing member to his community.
Source: Contra Costa Times, “San Jose sex offender in custody in North Carolina,” May 31, 2013