After a “reformed” child sex offender was released from the child sex abuse registry, he was arrested again. Sadly, removing the convict from the sex offender list proved to be a big mistake, and one of his former victims has since spoken out, wanting the world to know how “our justice system has failed us.”
Derrick Crooms — a 49-year-old Newton County, Georgia, resident — was placed on the Georgia Sex Offender Registry after he pleaded guilty to molestation charges for what he did to Jeanie Fulcher, his cousin by marriage, in 1996. She was just 7 years old when Crooms robbed her of her innocence. Although he was sentenced to 20 years in prison, he only served four before being released. Sadly, the miscarriage of justice didn’t end there.
With a child sex abuse conviction, Derrick Crooms became a registered sex offender, but he “was able to persuade a judge to remove his name from the registry in 2017 after claiming he was reformed and led a good and decent life,” according to The Blaze. After Crooms petitioned the judge to remove his name from the sex offender registry, his request was granted, despite his victim’s objections and his guilty plea.
Sadly, removing Crooms from the child sex offender registry proved to be a big mistake as he was accused of numerous new counts of sexual assault against children and wanted by authorities. His removal from the sex offender registry meant he could travel freely around the country with his wife, Rachel Overton, a traveling nurse who authorities allege failed to stop the serial molestations.
“In December 2020, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit received a request for assistance from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation of numerous sex offenses against children by Crooms,” GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Lindsay Marchant said in a news release. “The investigation revealed that these crimes allegedly occurred in Newton County, Georgia, as well as several different locations throughout the United States.”
After learning that Crooms was wanted for similar charges 25 years after his prior conviction, Jeanie Fulcher did everything she could to help authorities find him, and she succeed. After receiving a tip on his whereabouts, Croom’s previous victim helped police catch the sexual assault suspect.
Derrick Crooms was arrested by U.S. Marshals at a house in Stone Mountain on 18 new charges of sexual assault against children related to molestation, incest, and rape, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. His wife, Rachel Overton, was also taken into custody and charged with Cruelty to Children-3rd Degree and Failure to Report as a Mandated Reporter.
Following his recent arrest, Jeanie Fulcher decided to publicly come forward with her story in hopes of encouraging and empowering other victims to come forward and speak to law enforcement. “He took my innocence when I was seven,” Fulcher, now 34, recalled. “It happened to me for a year before I had the courage to tell someone about it,” she admitted. “I don’t know if you can ever really heal from that.”
Speaking of Croom’s petition to be removed from the registry, Fulcher explained, “Their argument was that he was a changed man and he was a model citizen that didn’t get in trouble anymore, hasn’t committed crimes since.” Of course, with the allegations that Crooms did the same thing to other little girls, Fulcher believes the new charges prove he hasn’t changed and should never have been put back on the streets, let alone taken off the sex offender registry.
“I do think that our justice system has failed us,” Jeanie Fulcher said. “I believe that once you plead guilty to raping children, molestation charges, you shouldn’t get out of prison at all. You shouldn’t get a second chance,” she added, and it’s hard to disagree. Time and time again, we see convicts being given a slap on the wrist or being released, only to use the opportunity to re-offend. Maybe it’s time that we, as a society, realize that some people do not deserve second chances.
Those responsible for releasing Derrick Crooms after he served only 20% of his sentence and the judge who agreed to remove him from the sex offender registry, allowing him to move freely in society without having to tell a soul about his prior crimes, have committed an atrocity. Perhaps if these officials had to explain to any new victims why their abuser was free to harm them, we would see fewer sexual predators being granted second chances.
When the people who are tasked with upholding our laws, delivering justice, and keeping innocent citizens safe fail so significantly, maybe they should be held accountable to those who are harmed by their decisions. That might just make some authority figures think twice before releasing a “reformed” criminal back onto our streets.