Convicted sex offenders who are on parole, probation, or incarcerated, are required to register with the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services. But as a result of a two month long sweep in Franklin County, authorities found multiple sex offenders have bypassed that responsibility. The Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney are working together to help fix this problem, and our Cara Thomas tells us, they are looking for help from the public.
MALONE, N.Y. --Over less than a three week period, files began piling up on the Franklin County District Attorney's desk. And many of them looked very similar: sex offenders who had not registered or had moved and did not update their address in the registry. District Attorney Derek Champagne says many of these cases are unintentional, but others are on purpose, people who just want to live their lives.
"Well, that's fine, but you need to live your life in a way that's compliant to the law,"said Franklin County's District Attorney, Derek Champagne.
According to the Franklin County Sheriff, there are more than 135 registered sex offenders living in the county, 45 of which are level three sex offenders, who are considered to be the most dangerous. Authorities say the public has the right to know if a convicted sex offender lives near by.
Franklin County's Sheriff, Kevin Mulverhill said, "I think the protection of our children and fellow citizens, from these sex offenders, is a responsibility we all take very seriously."
In efforts to solve this problem, the Franklin County Sheriff's Department and the D.A. are asking the public for its help. And to report any sex offenders who are not registered or have recently changed their address.
"I owe a debt of gratitude to each one of those people who were willing to go on the internet, do the research and then contact the Sheriff's department with any information," said Sheriff Mulverhill.
Four of the six arrested sex offenders were caught because of anonymous phone calls to the sheriff's department. But jail time isn't the D.A. or the Sheriff's goal.
Champagne said, "We're not looking to go and have 60 to 70 arrests. We're looking to educate and make these people aware of their obligations."
Authorities say they hope more unregistered sex offenders will come forward and admit to their mistakes. The Sheriff says any potential punishments will be decided on a case by case basis.
The Franklin County Sheriff and District Attorney say anyone with questions about sex offenders and the registry can go to www.criminaljustice.ny.gov.
Anyone with information about an unregistered sex offender in their area is instructed to call their local county sheriff.