Marshals, police visit sex offenders’ homesPublished 12:03am Saturday, May 11, 2013
One day after news broke of the rescue of three women held captive in an Ohio home for more than a decade, local law enforcement and U.S. Marshals visited the home of every convicted sex offender in the county.
While the search was unrelated to the women’s abductions, it – and news stories of abductions by sex offenders – goes to highlight how important it is to do compliance checks, Sheriff Dennis Meeks said.
Currently, there are 136 registered sex offenders in Covington County. Of those, 40 are incarcerated. On Wednesday, it took eight hours and teams of sheriff’s deputies and investigators, Andalusia and Opp officers, marshals, Alabama Bureau of Investigation agents and U.S. probation officers to visit 96 homes throughout the county.
Under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which is also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, marshals and local law enforcement are tasked with partnering to do compliance work to locate offenders who’ve fled out of state or out of the county. Under the law, sex offenders are prohibited from living within 2,000 feet of a school or childcare facility, also, if a person’s conviction involves children, no children can live in the household. Offenders are required to re-register that information every quarter.
The same requirement guidelines apply to the offender’s workplace.
“And that’s exactly what we were checking for,” Meeks said. “We checked every physical address of every registered offender in the county, looking for a number of things. First, we checked is that the residence they provided to us; are they still living there; does it appear that children are in the home.
“We also checked things like vehicle description to see if it matched the information we had on file for them,” he said. “We do all this for the protection of the citizens of this county.”
Of the 96 registered sex offenders living in the county, three were found to be non-compliant. Investigations are ongoing in those cases.
A searchable database of Alabama’s convicted sex offenders can be found at dps.state.al.us.