Law enforcement conducts registered sex offenders compliance checks
July 6, 2023
For the 14th consecutive year, deputies and detectives with the sheriff’s office, in partnership with the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) Sex Offender Enforcement Task Force, conducted a concentrated sweep of compliance checks of registered sex offenders living in Sweetwater County in an annual campaign known as Operation Jessica.
Earlier in June, small teams of deputies and federal agents spread out across the county, including in many of the outlying communities such as Granger, Point of Rocks, Wamsutter, and Bairoil, in an attempt to check-in with all of the 105 known registered sex offenders currently living in Sweetwater County.
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 they drive. Registered offenders must also notify authorities if they move, change employment, or if there are any changes to any of their other personal details that they are required to provide by the terms of their offender status.
Of the total compliance checks this year, 92 offenders were found in compliance with their registered offender status, five were arrested on bench warrants for an alleged failure to register, two were suspected of non-compliance and are currently further investigation, and six are scheduled for follow-up visits by deputies this week.
While registration status is actively monitored by the sheriff’s office and deputies conduct compliance checks throughout the year, 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.
Involvement of the USMS in the local compliance checks stems from the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification (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 requirements. The failure to comply with registration requirements may subject convicted 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 http://www.smart.gov.