Sex Offenders Charged With Being at WNC State Fair; Under New NC Law

ASHEVILLE - Buncombe County sheriff's deputies arrested two men at the Mountain State Fair over the weekend in response to new legislation keeping sex offenders off fairgrounds.

Jamie Lee Burleson, 41, of Hendersonville, was charged with the felony on Sunday. Stephen Harner, 32, of Candler, was charged on Friday, according to warrant documents filed by Buncombe County Sheriff's Office.

House Bill 1021 went into effect Sept. 1. It amends North Carolina's law regarding where registered sex offenders can and cannot be based on the ruling in Doe V. Cooper.

WATCH: NC Law Bans Sex Offenders From Fairs

Five registered sex offenders filed the lawsuit in the Middle District of North Carolina in December 2016 challenging the constitutionality of the state's premises restrictions, saying the current statue was vague and it was not clear where they were allowed to go.

Included in the new changes is a provision that registered sex offenders must stay away from state fairgrounds during fairs or agriculture events.

Burleson was convicted in July 2002 for two counts of indecent liberties with a 14-year-old. He was 26 at the time, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety's Online Sex Offender Registry.

Harner was convicted in December 2007 when he was 24 years old for sexual battery. His victim was 13 years old, the Department of Public Safety reports.

Both men are being held on $10,000 unsecured bonds at the Buncombe County Detention Center.

Buncombe County Sheriff's Office made the arrests with Henderson County Sheriff's Office serving as a witness.

Copyright 2016 WFMY


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