A man who has been umpiring at girls softball games in Robertson County has been charged with violating the sex offender registry.
The Robertson County Sheriff’s Office arrested Herman Lee Brown after receiving a tip from the public that Brown, a registered sex offender, had been officiating at games in Robertson and surrounding counties, according to a news release.
As a registered sex offender, Brown is prohibited from entering school property or obtaining employment within 1,000 feet of a school.
Brown is listed as a violent offender following a 2000 rape while on active military duty overseas, according to the Tennessee sex offender registry website.
The investigation revealed Brown, 52, of Woodlawn in rural Montgomery County, had been umpiring the games at schools in Robertson County as an official with the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA).
Detectives were able to confirm one such incident by verifying payroll records.
TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress confirmed Wednesday that Brown was a registered TSSAA official.
“We looked back, and he had registered in the sports of football, basketball and softball, and he registered in June of 2015 for the 2015-16 school year,” Childress told The Tennessean.
Brown started work just months before TSSAA began requiring background checksfor officials. That began on Nov. 12, 2015.
“He provided false information when registering as an official by not indicating that he had been convicted of a felony,” Childress said. “Had he provided truthful information, he would not have been able to register.”
When TSSAA found out about the situation on April 14, Brown was suspended immediately.
The association did not retroactively background check officials who had already been registered for the 2015-16 school year but will be doing that on a yearly basis for all officials going forward.
“We implemented (background checks) on Nov. 12, and the board (of control) did not make it retroactive,” Childress said. “The reasoning was that we’re going to do them every single year from this point forward, which most people do not do.
“You’ve got to keep in mind, when you look at two- and three-sport (officials), we’re registering between 4,000 and 4,500 officials every year, and the process for next year has already started. It just wasn’t feasible to do that.”
The criminal investigation is ongoing, and additional charges are pending as other violations are verified. Investigators are in communication with surrounding jurisdictions about allegations of Brown officiating school games in areas outside of Robertson County, the release said.
“We are grateful for the tip from a concerned citizen that led to this arrest,” Sheriff Bill Holt said in the release. “It is important that we all work together to ensure the safety of our schools and our children.”
Brown was picked up at his home on Sawmill Road in Woodlawn by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office on April 19 and turned over to be booked into the Robertson County Detention Facility.
Michael Murphy contributed to this report.