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New system catches first sex offender
Apr 07, 2005 12:00 am
The first person to fall under the scrutiny of a new sheriff's department program aimed at better tracking convicted sexual offenders will likely face charges, officials say.
"The first one we checked, we found out he had been living across the street from a day care center at one time, then we found he wasn't living where he was supposed to be living and he wasn't driving what he was supposed to be driving," Sheriff Terry Ashe said.
Sheriff's department officials just announced the start of the program, called CATS – Compliance, Accountability, Tracking and Surveillance – on March 28. At the time, Ashe said it would be used to track one sexual offender per week, "at random" to ensure that each was properly registered with the state.
The very first suspect selected at random must now feel like a lottery winner in reverse, according to Ashe, who said he would likely face charges of failing to register as a convicted sexual offender as well as possible perjury charges.
"He was the very first one we checked. It was kind of hard to believe," Ashe remarked.
He said the man – whose identity was not released – attempted to change some of his registration information "after he knew we were looking for him."
"Just a few weeks ago this individual was living right across the street from a day care center, then he moved into a residential area, and from what we can tell his registration information was not kept up to date," the sheriff said. "We've already discussed it with the DA's office and we'll be taking the whole case to a grand jury."
Ashe said the program has also proven successful in at least one other tangible way – with over 120 offenders contacting the sheriff's department upon learning of the CATS program "to see if they were registered correctly."
"From any standpoint we're pleased anytime we can help keep track of these people, but at the same time it bothers you when the very first one you check on comes back like this," Ashe remarked.
Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 14 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.