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SCSO: ‘Operation Jessica’ sweep could lead to criminal charges for five registered sex offenders in Sweetwater County

(Sweetwater County Sheriff's Department, Facebook)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday it is consulting with the Sweetwater County Attorney’s Office to possibly bring criminal charges against five registered sex offenders suspected of non-compliance and failure to adhere to the terms of their registered sex offender status.

The SCSO participated in registered sex offender compliance checks in partnership with the U.S. Marshals Service Sex Offender Enforcement Task Force in May as part of an effort known as “Operation Jessica.” While five registered sex offenders are suspected of being out of compliance, 80 were determined to be in compliance, the SCSO’s Thursday press release said.

While 85 total compliance checks were conducted in May, there are a total of 103 known registered sex offenders living in Sweetwater County, according to SCSO.

Convicted sex offenders must register with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation through their local sheriff’s office, SCSO said.

“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,” the agency added. “Registered offenders must also notify authorities if they move, change employment, or if there are changes to any of the other personal details that they are required to provide as terms of their offender status.”

SCSO said it actively monitors registration status of convicted sex offenders in the county and conducts compliance checks year-round. It has also participated in the annual Operation Jessica sweeps for 12 years in a row. The name of the operation is in memory of a Florida child who was abducted, raped and murdered in 2005 by a convicted sex offender, SCSO noted.

“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,” the press release said. “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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