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For Immediate Release

Contact:
September 18, 2009 Southern District of Ohio
William L. Taylor Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal
(937) 225-2917;
USMS Headquarters Public Affairs (202) 307-9065
Operation Neighborhood Watch Launched in Belmont and Jefferson Counties
Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies Join Forces to Protect our Communities

St. Clairsville and Steubenville, Ohio – The United States Marshals Service in the Southern District of Ohio, the State of Ohio Adult Parole Authority, and the men and women of the Belmont County and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Offices conducted a joint law enforcement effort to keep tabs on local sex offenders in their counties. On September 14-18, 2009, Deputy Sheriffs, Deputy U.S. Marshals, and Adult Parole Officers teamed up to verify the residences of registered sex offenders. The teams visited and attempted to verify residency of over 200 registered sex offenders to ensure the offenders are in compliance with their sex offender registration requirements. This initiative is a collaborative law enforcement effort that is designed to keep the public safe by ensuring that these offenders are complying with sex offender registration obligations and residing where they have reported.

In Belmont County, six out of one hundred and twenty five registered sex offenders were found to be out of compliance and are facing possible local charges. In addition, six subjects were located and arrested based upon warrants issued for their arrest for violations other than sex offenses.

In Jefferson County, eight out of ninety three registered sex offenders were found to be out of compliance and are facing local charges. In addition, seven subjects were located and arrested based upon warrants issued for their arrest.

Sheriff Fred Thompson said that, ” We appreciate the extra manpower, equipment and resources that the United States Marshal has provided us in tracking and ensuring compliance of our registered sex offenders. Combining the compliance check with the arrest of several other individuals on warrants has made this a win win situation. This operation has shown that agencies from any facet of law enforcement can work together to ensure the safety of our children.”

Sheriff Fred Abdalla stated, “This was an extraordinary effort in seeking out nearly 200 sex offenders. Manpower was essential in this operation and it was only successful due to the U.S. Marshals Service out of Columbus, Ohio. The Marshals Service supplied us with men and women as well as dollars to pay deputies for their overtime. Sex offenses against children is a growing crime throughout America. In Jefferson County alone there are seventy one sex offenders walking our streets. I'm so thankful to the U.S. Marshals for making Eastern Ohio a part of this most important operation, especially here in Jefferson County. I look forward to continue working with them in this great endeavor.”

Assistant Chief Patrick J. Sedoti and Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Cathy Jones traveled from the U.S. Marshals Service district Headquarters in Columbus, OH to meet with Sheriff Thompson and Sheriff Abdallah to reinforce their commitment to serving the 48 counties that comprise the Southern District of Ohio. Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Cathy Jones states, “Having the opportunity to establish a positive collaboration with local law enforcement in Belmont and Jefferson counties is truly beneficial not only professionally, but also for the communities we serve. Ultimately, we all must work together to protect those we serve, especially under such difficult times. Frankly, several law enforcement agencies do not have the resources to conduct an operation like this alone. Through force multiplying this week, we have accomplished several tasks. We have arrested those offenders that are not in compliance and made our communities safer, we have verified that several offenders are doing exactly what they are required to do by law, and we have improved our professional network of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers in the Ohio Valley and across throughout the Southern District of Ohio.”

Assistant Chief Patrick Sedoti notes, “We, alone, can not protect our children and the communities we serve. We need the cooperation of our citizens to truly make a difference. We urge individuals to contact their local Sheriff’s offices if they know a sexual offender is not in compliance. Children are particularly vulnerable to sex offenders. Open communication between parents and children is vital to family safety. ”

To search for sex offenders in Belmont County, review safety tips, and learn more about your local Sheriff’s office efforts, please visit www.belmontsheriff.com, and click on the tab indicated as “Sexual Offenders”. In order to maintain awareness of sex offenders living in your neighborhood, the Sheriff Thompson has added a Sex Offender Registry to the website. The registry will allow you to enter any local address. It will then provide a list of all registered Belmont County sex offenders living within a one-mile radius within the boundaries of Belmont County. If you are looking for information about a particular sex offender, registered in Belmont County, the registry can help there as well.

To search for sex offenders in Jefferson County and learn more about your local Sheriff’s office efforts, please visit www.jeffersoncountysheriff.co  and click on the tab indicated as “Sex Offenders”.
If you reside outside of these two counties, you can also conduct your own sex offender search. One of the most important programs in the State of Attorney General's office is eSORN, Ohio's Electronic Sex Offender Registration and Notification, one of the nation's preeminent applications for locating and tracking registered sex offenders. You are encouraged to take advantage of the many tools on this website to protect yourself and those you care about. Here, you will find information about how to sign up to receive automated messages when a sex offender moves near a location you care about (your daycare provider, home, work, etc.) and how to submit tips to investigators on offenders within the system. The site also features information on the "Most Wanted" fugitives and persons who have failed to register. You can search the database records by county and name. This database is linked to all 88 Ohio County Sheriff's offices and all 32 correctional facility records offices of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. eSORN provides one location for all Ohio law enforcement officials to freely share information on registered sex offenders. Also available on this website is a concise breakdown of the various changes to Ohio's SORN law. Each sex offender who is legally required to register must provide the county sheriff with his or her name and address, his or her classification, the offense(s) for which he or she was convicted and have a picture taken and be fingerprinted. The sheriff's office must then provide the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation with that information to store and to post on eSORN. For more details, please visit: www.esorn.ag.state.oh.us

The U.S. Marshals Service is the lead law enforcement agency responsible for investigating sex offender registration violations and related offenses in connection with violations of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which was enacted July 27, 2006. As part of this Act, the U.S. Marshals Service has been directed to assist state, local, tribal and territorial authorities in the location and apprehension of non-compliant and fugitive sex offenders. Offenders that are found residing out of state can be charged federally and often those charges carry more severe penalties. To ensure the safety of children across the country, the U.S. Marshals Service implemented an aggressive enforcement strategy. Since the law was enacted the Untied States Marshals Service has arrested 9,160 fugitives for Sex Offenses, Failure to Register and Failure to Comply with Sex Offenders Registration Requirements. To learn more, please visit: www.usmarshals.gov.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.

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