Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why is Will Foster Misidentified on the Sex Offender List?

William Carl Foster could have had a brilliant career in music. Foster (pictured at right in the early 1980s) was voted the Most Promising Bass Player of the Year by the American Bluegrass Association in 1981. Despite his musical roots, Foster chose a career as a gymnastics instructor.

After being indicted on three counts of the second degree sexual abuse of three former students, Will Foster faced what could have been a long prison sentence. Choosing to plead not guilty, the Foster Family String Band member hired Florence attorney Ralph Holt to defend him at trial--a trial that never took place.

According to court records, Foster was facing charges involving children:

"The actions reportedly began when the girls were 11 and 12 years old, from 1997 to 2001."

However, before the scheduled December 2005 trial, two other former students came forward to report similar abuse. Both girls were 12 and students at the Shoals School of Gymnastics when the alleged abuse began.

Now Foster faced f
ive charges based on five separate but extremely similar accounts of sexual abuse beginning before the young women were 13. Foster agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges. From the April 4 , 2005, TimesDaily:

"As part of the plea agreement, the 39-year-old Foster will serve six months in the Lauderdale County Detention Center and must register as a sex offender."

Was Foster guilty? At the sentencing in Mike Jones' courtroom, William Carl Foster apologized to his victims for any suffering he had caused. The victims and their families had every reason to believe Foster would not be allowed in the proximity of young children. From the Alabama Code:

(5) Criminal sex offense involving a child. A conviction for any criminal sex offense in which the victim was a child under the age of 12 and any offense involving child pornography.

(f) No adult criminal sex offender, after having been convicted of a criminal sex offense involving a child, shall loiter on or within 500 feet of any property on which there is a school, child care facility, playground, park, athletic field or facility, school bus stop, or any other business or facility having a principal purpose of caring for, educating, or entertaining minors.

So why was Foster not arrested at Chuck E Cheese, or at least made to leave? Apparently the state Community Information Center has the wrong data on file:

This can and should be changed. Now we have to wonder just how many other sex offenders have been misidentified...


Ssssh. It's coming to the Shoals soon...