Sex offender jailed after not moving to Georgia

Christopher Michael Bates

A convicted sex offender who notified authorities he was moving to Georgia last month but never made the trip was charged with failing to report he was still in Ocala.

A woman contacted the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 12 and said a man fitting the description of Christopher Bates was living at 2815 N. Pine Ave., Lot 15. Bates, 41, was convicted of statutory rape in Georgia in 1997 and is required by law to re-register annually and report any change of residence within 48 hours, according to the sheriff’s office report.

Bates, who has re-registered 30 times in Florida, reported to the sheriff’s office on Aug. 12 that he was moving to Bowden, Ga. A Marion County deputy contacted authorities in Georgia last week and learned he had not registered as required, the report said.

On Monday, a deputy responded to the residence on Pine Avenue and met with Bates and his mother. Bates’ mother admitted he is staying with her. She said shortly after Bates requested travel papers to Georgia, he was homeless and living on the streets. Bates’ mother said he had been living with her for the past two weeks, and the reason he didn’t go to Georgia as planned was because his family there never sent him the money to help him move, according to the report.

Bates’ mother told the deputy they knew he needed to report to the sheriff’s office, but he was scared he would get into trouble. She said her plan was to save up money and help him get a bus ticket to Georgia, the report said.

Bates told the deputy he never moved to Georgia. He said he couldn’t stay at his previously listed address of 5290 NW 56th Terrace because it was in such poor condition, and he knew he couldn’t live at his mother’s house on Pine Avenue because it is too close to Vanguard High School, according to the report.

Bates was charged with not updating his Florida ID/driver’s license within 48 hours and not reporting within 48 hours that he didn’t move out of state. He’s being held without bond in Marion County Jail and will appear in Marion County Court on Oct. 22.