Sex Offenders Targeted in Multi-Agency Compliance Check Operations
With the goal of locating offenders who aren’t in compliance with Montana’s Sexual or Violent Offender Registry, Montana law enforcement agencies recently conducted intensive compliance checks in Beaverhead, Lake, Flathead, and Roosevelt Counties. There are a combined 350 registered sex offenders in the four jurisdictions. During the operations, 341 of the 350 registered were checked for registration compliance.
Offender compliance checks were initiated by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox in 2013. To date, law enforcement agencies have also conducted operations in Billings, Great Falls, Kalispell, and Missoula, as well as in Beaverhead, Glacier, Lake, Pondera, and Roosevelt Counties. “Ensuring the public’s safety by conducting compliance checks to verify sex offenders are living at their registered address and are in compliance with any conditions they may have continues to be one of our priorities at the Montana Department of Justice,” said Attorney General Tim Fox. “We are grateful to have the cooperation of multiple law enforcement agencies pooling their resources, and we look forward to announcing the results of more compliance checks in the new year along with our local, state, federal, and tribal partners.”
The United States Marshals Service, the United States Probation & Parole Office, the Montana Department of Justice, the Montana Department of Corrections, Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office, the Kalispell Police Department, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Polson Police Department, the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, and the Fort Peck Tribal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) Team participated in the operation. Working together, they verified 272 sex offenders as compliant (residing at their registered address). Additionally:
• 63 offenders could not be contacted at their residence and residency was not verified. Those addresses where offenders could not be verified were left notices on their doors and the local registering agency is following up on the verifications.
• 13 offenders were found to be non-compliant and follow-up investigations will be conducted to determine if formal charges for failing to register will be filed;
• 2 offenders were arrested; one for Failure to Register, and one was arrested on a federal warrant for sex assault.
Additionally, 17 violent offenders were checked on in Roosevelt County; all were found to be in compliance.
Under Montana law, convicted sexual or violent offenders must register their address of residence with local law enforcement. The information is provided to the Montana Department of Justice and input into the Sexual or Violent Offender Registry (SVOR). Depending on their tier level designation, sex offenders must verify their addresses with law enforcement on a regular basis (by law, violent offenders are not given a tier level). When an offender fails to verify his/her address, he/she falls out of compliance with the registry.
• Tier III (the most dangerous) sex offenders must verify address every 90 days
• Tier II sex offenders must verify address every 180 days
• Tier I and non-designated sex offenders must verify address once per year
Montana’s SVOR, which tracks an average of 2,300 sexual offenders and 3,300 violent offenders at any given time, is viewable online at https://app.doj.mt.gov/apps/svow/default.aspx On-line visitors may also register for free email notifications that allow them to be automatically notified whenever a sexual or violent offender moves into a zip code of interest to subscribers.