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Sex Offender Charged with Not Joining List.

October 22, 2000

A Bryans Road man who served more than a year in jail in connection with the fondling of two girls has been charged with failing to register as a sex offender in Charles County, the Charles County sheriff's office said last week.

John Sherman Stowers, 67, was charged Sept. 7 after he allegedly asked police to remove him from the sex offender registry in Maryland because he was relocating to Westmoreland County, Va., police said. Stowers never actually moved, police said.

Stowers was convicted in 1999 on child molestation charges. He spent 13 months in the Charles County Detention Center's work release program and was released in July.

Stowers allegedly told the Charles County sheriff's office in July that he was moving to Virginia, and he asked that he be removed from Maryland's sexual offender registry. He apparently bought property in Virginia and registered with the Virginia sexual offender registry but has never moved there, police said. He still lives in Bryans Road, police said.

Stowers was convicted in connection with an incident involving two young girls during a visit to their home in September 1998, police said. Stowers was a friend of the girls' parents and charging documents alleged that the abuse occurred when Stowers gave each of the girls a ride on his motorcycle. He allegedly drove them to a remote area, sexually fondled them and then drove back to their house.

Child sexual offender registration that requires convicted sex offenders to register with their local law enforcement agency within seven days of moving to an area went into effect in Maryland on Oct. 1, 1995. Many states have similar statutes, inspired by the 1995 New Jersey statute called "Megan's Law," named for a 7-year-old girl who was raped and murdered by a twice-convicted sex offender.

Police said that during the 50 days that Stowers was unregistered here, several citizens requested and obtained copies of the sex offenders list for Charles County, copies that were incomplete because they did not include Stowers's name and address.

Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company. Story by Annie Gowen.