County, federal law enforcement conduct compliance checks of registered sex offenders

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Wyo4news Staff, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]

SWEETWATER COUNTY, WYOMING — For the 12th consecutive year, deputies and detectives from the sheriff’s office, in partnerships with the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) Sex Offender Enforcement Task Force, recently participated in a concentrated sweep of registered sex offender compliance checks throughout Sweetwater County as part of an ongoing effort in a special campaign known as Operation Jessica.

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There are currently 103 known registered sex offenders living in different communities in the county. Last month, small teams of sheriff’s deputies and federal officers conducted a total of 85 registered sex offender compliance checks across the county including in many outlying communities such as Granger, Point of Rocks, Wamsutter and Bairoil.

Under state law, sex offenders, as defined by statute, must register with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI)through their local sheriff’s office. Registered offenders living in Sweetwater County are photographed, fingerprinted, and must provide to authorities detailed information including their physical address, place of employment, and the different vehicles that they drive. Registered offenders must also notify authorities if they move, change employment, or if there any changes to any of the other personal details that they are required to provide as terms of their offender status.

Of the total compliance checks last month, 80 offenders were determined in compliance with their registered offender status. The sheriff’s office is now pursuing, in consult with the county attorney’s office, possible criminal charges against five of these offenders for suspicion of non-compliance and a failure to abide by the terms of their registered offender status.

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While registration status is actively monitored and compliance checks are actually conducted year-round, the annual compliance sweep known as Operation Jessica was established in memory of nine-year-old Jessica Marie Lunsford, who was abducted, raped and murdered in Homosassa, Florida in 2005 by 47-year-old John Couey, a convicted sex offender who lived near Lunsford.

USMS’ involvement stems from the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), which is found in Title 1 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. SORNA requires convicted sex offenders to comply with state statutory registration requirements. Failure to comply with registration requirements may subject offenders to state and/or federal criminal prosecution, carrying a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment.

In Wyoming, registered sex offenders’ photographs and biographical information are published on DCI’S website. There is also a link to the state’s registration website on the sheriff’s office’s website. The Justice Department also maintains a national sex offender registry website.

For more information about national sex offender sentencing, monitoring, apprehending, registering and tracking, please visit https://www.smart.gov.

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