State Law May Have Left Room for Sex Offender Pastor to Skirt System

State Law May Have Left Room for Sex Offender Pastor to Skirt System

Court records from 2003 reveal the sex offender posing as a pastor is following the same pattern of his original offense a decade ago. State law seems to leave a loophole to exploit.
"Click on search and type in the name," she said, scrolling through the webpage.

A computer monitor inside the Arkansas Crime Information Center building turns Sex Offender Registry Manager Paula Stitz's desk into a portal to track sex offenders across the state.

"We have those offenders that are constantly trying to evade and these are the ones we like to find and bring them to justice," Stitz said.

The case of Carlos Norwood's multiple identities, a story we broke on Wednesday that included his role as Bishop Jacob J. Taylor, is one of her more interesting cases.

"Con artists do this quite often," she said. "They try to use as many names as possible."

What do the records say about his past?

According to records a Lonoke County judge agreed to unseal today, Reverend Carlos Norwood pleaded guilty to a felony sexual assault charge from 2003 for having sex with a 15-year-old church member who was also his distant relative.

Those court records included a letter from Norwood to the judge, where he claimed he wanted the judge's help to reclaim his church and begin actively working with children again.

Furthermore, police in 2003 reported a search of Norwood's home in England uncovered a Pulaski County Sheriff's Office badge and security guard uniform. Pulaski County Sheriff's officials said the department does not have any past or current employees named Carlos Norwood or Jacob Taylor.

According to a sex offender fact sheet provided by England Police Department, Norwood was kicked out of a prison sex offender treatment program for failure to make progress and breaking rules. He was deemed, the sheet said, not amenable. 

Those who know Bishop Jacob J. Taylor told us he had repeatedly said he was a retired Arkansas State Trooper or other law enforcement officer.

People living in the neighborhood near Norwood's Little Rock church were shocked to learn about his history.

"How could you even have a ministry and be a sex offender?" asked Ann Garrett, whose children often visit their grandfather's house in the neighborhood.

Law enforcement says Norwood legally changed his name to Jacob Taylor in 2008.

It appears he returned to his role as pastor through a nonprofit he started known as Power Pack International Ministries. The church was originally in operation at an address on Lynch Drive in North Little Rock, just doors away from a daycare center.

It has since relocated to Hanger Street in Little Rock. According to congregation members, Taylor never disclosed the name of Carlos Norwood or his sex offender status.

"He said in my younger years I had a run in with the law, but I found God. Nowhere did he say he was a sex offender," said congregation member Branda Blakley.

Where's the loophole?

Under Arkansas law, the Sex Offender Registry cannot include Taylor's new identity on the sex offender search page, because it is considered an alias.

"Our legislation in this moment and time that's [ an alias] not one of the things we are permitted to put in our website," Stitz said.

That's in comparison to Tennessee's sex offender search. If you search for Carlos Norwood or Jacob Jerome Taylor, it will bring up his record. In the Arkansas system, a search for Jacob J. Taylor leaves you empty-handed. You have to know to look for Carlos Norwood.

"The legislature dictates what we can put on the website," Stitz said. "That [alias] is not included in the information they have told us we need to put on the website."

So, until there is a change in the law, some offenders may continue to exploit the system.

"Do we even know how many people might be using an alias like this?" we asked Stitz.

"Their aliases are always known to law enforcement," Stitz said. "But yes, they might have to get caught if it's a situation like this.

Stitz did highlight a feature on the sex offender registry that could prove useful to those who want to be aware of a sex offender moving into their neighborhood, regardless of their name. Click here to find the page to set up sex offender community alerts.

Little Rock Police respond to questions regarding Norwood/Taylor's sex offender status.

On Wednesday, we had asked Little Rock Police if they knew if Jacob J. Taylor was an alias for Carlos Norwood. In a phone conversation with Taylor, he claimed Norwood was his identical twin brother.

On Wednesday, Little Rock Police spokesperson Lt. Sidney Allen had said they were unsure if the name Taylor was an alias or a relative. Friday, LRPD confirmed that Taylor was Norwood's alias.

We also asked if community notifications had been made to Norwood's neighbors, as required by law. According to LRPD, notifications had not been made. Police said Norwood had recently moved into the area and the department relies on availability of patrol officers to distribute fliers.

According to those who live in the neighborhood where Taylor was living, he has been there since the beginning of May, at least.

Lt. Sidney Allen had also reported that Norwood was in compliance on his sex offender registration. However, in an answer to questions we posed, LRPD confirmed, "No, the only employment Mr. Taylor provided was in 2009 during his original registration.  Since then he has listed his employment as unemployed or disabled."

But according to reports from those who know Taylor, he had been working at the McDonald's on Fouche Dam Pike. We spoke with three different employees there today who confirmed Taylor had been working there and last reported for a shift on Wednesday. He didn't come to work on Thursday, they said. That was probably due to his being arrested Thursday morning by parole officers.

According to Stitz, Norwood would have been required to report his work in the church and his work at McDonald's to police. Failure to do so, she said, is a crime.

"It's a felony for failing to report that information," she said.
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