Friday, July 30, 2010

Will Foster & the Alabama Sex Offender Registry

Last Friday, Will Foster of Florence attended a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese in Sheffield. An alert customer spotted Foster and called the Sheffield Police. Why?

William Carl Foster is a convicted sex offender--and has been since 2006. The customer thought Foster was committing a crime by being at the chain restaurant noted for its children's birthday parties. We agree with her; however, based on the Alabama Sex Offender Registry, Foster had every right to be there. Why the confusion?

"Why?" indeed. Isn't the Registry accurate? 'Fraid not, but first let's look at Foster's crimes.

According to court records, Foster was charged on July 22, 2005, with:

"production of obscene matter of a person under 17, three counts of first-degree sexual abuse and nine counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes."

However, after the case was presented to a Lauderdale County Grand Jury, the charges were reduced to:

"three charges of second-degree sexual abuse."

We may never know why the grand jury chose to indict on such reduced charges, but perhaps Foster's standing in the community played a major role. William Carl Foster is the son of Dr. Bill Foster, a retired UNA professor, and was at the time of his arrest a part of the Foster Family Band. Foster had also been a respected gymnastics instructor for many years--a position that placed him with numerous underage girls.

Once the initial charges were published, many speculated that others would come forward--and they did. What happened next is a case of plea bargaining at its best.

Tomorrow: How William Carl Foster avoided prison.


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