A South Carolina father is enraged that his daughter is being forced to live next door to the man who solicited her for sex last fall. The ten-year-old was playing in her backyard, which is next door to Kenny Dane Marlowe, when the 61-year-old approached the fence and began an illegal conversation with her. According to Chris Smith, his daughter was playing with Marlowe’s cat near the fence that separated their yard from Marlowe’s. Smith said his daughter told him that Marlowe asked her what her bra size was and then if he could rub lotion on her. He then allegedly exposed himself to the girl and leaned over the fence to kiss her. When the victim ran inside to tell her father what had happened, Smith called the police who arrested Marlowe on charges for lewd act on a minor. Marlowe, however, is now back home with only a fence separating him from Smith’s little girl.
Reports on the incident have conflicting information, with local news reporting that Marlowe “tried to get [the girl] to go into his home,” and that he “kissed her on the lips and nose and exposed his genitals to her.” Other reports maintain that Marlowe merely spoke to the girl, asking her what her bra size was and if she would sleep with him, telling her he wanted to “lick her like the cat.” The HeraldOnline reached Marlowe’s mother, Sally Obsorne, while looking for a comment from the alleged offender. Osborne said she doesn’t believe her son did anything to Smith’s daughter. In fact, Osborne thinks Smith’s wife, Laura, made the whole thing up, saying that Laura wants “possession of the land where Marlowe lives.” Osborne later added that, if her son did anything to the girl, it was because “he was drunk.”
To the victim’s father, none of the details matter, except one: “When it’s all stripped away,” Smith said, “I still have a convicted, registered sex offender living next door.”
At the Marlowe’s probation hearing, he was required to where an ankle bracelet so police could monitor him, and to stay at least one mile from the neighborhood where the victim lives. Currently, Smith is concerned and confused as to why – in light to the probation measures – Marlowe now has full access to the neighborhood, needing only to stay 30 feet from Smith’s little girl for the four-year probation period. Marlowe moved back next door to the Smith’s house the day after the sentencing.
Prosecutor Candice Lively said that she has no concerns about Marlowe’s proximity to Smith’s daughter. Firstly, Lively says that, although Marlowe’s actions were “creepy,” she “doesn’t believe he is a sex offender,” adding that he has “none of the characteristics that fit the profile of a sex offender.” Marlowe did, however, admit to being drunk and asking the girl to sleep with him. Secondly, Lively believes Smith to be all the protection that the 10-year-old needs: “Her daddy makes me have no concerns about her safety.”
While the court cannot force Marlowe to sell his home nor ban him from the county, Smith is not satisfied with the court’s probation ruling. According to HeraldOnline, Smith is trying to contact an Horry County legislator to change state law so that a convicted, registered sex offender can’t live within a mile of his victim. He has not yet been able to arrange a meeting. A woman claiming to be the victim’s aunt commented on an article by The Stir on the situation: “Please post of your facebook pages, write emails! I am the victims Aunt and we are trying to get enough attention that laws can be changed. PLEASE HELP!”
Smith told the Sun News that “having Kerry Dane Marlowe for a neighbor is hell on his family,” adding that “he would gladly move, but doubts he can sell a house next to a sex offender.”
Do you think Marlowe should be able to live next door to Smith’s daughter? What do you think qualifies someone as a “sex offender”?