The town hall meeting of the Greensboro City Council on Monday, Nov. 4 will be the first where the speakers have been informed about Mayor Nancy Vaughan’s new rules governing speaking prior to the meeting.
But, Brian Watkins, a regular speaker at City Council meetings, may have more problems than just following the new rules if he shows up to speak on Nov. 4 because the meeting is at Griffin Recreation Center.
Watkins, as was revealed by former City Councilmember Mike Barber at a meeting in May 2017, is on the national sex offender registry.
According to the Texas Public Sex Offender Website, in 2005, at the age of 29, Watkins was convicted of “indecency with a child sexual contact” and the victim of the crime was an 11-year-old boy.
The website also states that Watkins was discharged from incarceration after three years and states that Watkins is on the registry for his “lifetime” and is required to register every year.
Greensboro has an ordinance that allowed those on the sex offender registry to attend public meetings in places where they would otherwise be prohibited because they are areas frequented by children.
However, a state statute that went into effect in 2016 makes no such allowance for public meetings held in places like recreation centers that are frequented by children. The law does make an exception for voting.
Since state statutes take precedence over city ordinances, Watkins could be in violation of North Carolina General Statute 14-208.18 if he chooses to attend the City Council meeting at Griffin Recreation Center. A violation of this statute is a felony.
Watkins has been disruptive at several meetings and was being escorted out by security guards when Barber asked, “Aren’t you the same Brian Drew Watkins from Texas? Aren’t you a registered sex offender?”
Barber then asked that the police investigate and determine if it was legal for Watkins to attend City Council meetings at city hall, where Boy Scouts and other youth groups are often in attendance.