Deputies say three additional offenders with active warrants will be in custody soon
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – A sweep of more than 70 registered sex offenders has landed one in jail, and has local law enforcement looking for three additional offenders with active arrest warrants.
The sweep, coordinated by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department in conjuction with area police departments and state officials, took place on Wednesday for the most part. But additional investigation continues.
Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Sproul coordinates the department’s activity for Lee County residents listed on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry.
He said there are currently 75 residents in Lee County who are active on the registry.
“We didn’t make contact with about 35% of them and we did all this in the morning hours from 8 a.m. to noon,” Sproul said.
“For the most part these guys are fairly compliant. We left hangers on their door knobs and by the time I got back I already had a couple phone calls from people who wanted to know what was going on,” Sproul said.
The department hadn’t done a sweep in about two years, and Wray said the results were similar this year.
“Six of them had active warrants, and of those we believe two of them were not in the area and have moved away.” he said.
“We made one arrest yesterday of one registered sex offenders. We are actively investigation the whereabouts of the remaining three and we do believe they are still in the area. We’ll have them picked up in the very near future.”
He said violations can include a wide variety of events and the sweep typically involves a questionnaire and everyone is asked the same questions.
“I always tell them we’re not singling anyone out here, and everyone is asked the same questions. Obviously some follow ups are needed,” Wray said.
“But we’re just confirming if they are home or not, if someone is there who knows them and where they are; if children are in the home, and identifiers on social media accounts or email addresses that aren’t listed with Dep. Sproul.”
Sproul said the registry is three-tiered with third tier requiring the most attention. He said those individuals have to report in quarterly. Tier-two offenders must report twice a year and tier-one was check in yearly with Sproul.
The sweep included assistance from the Keokuk and Fort Madison police departments, West Point/Donnellson police departments and Montrose Police Departments, the Lee County G.H.O.S.T. strike force and the state DCI. Two years ago the U.S. Marshals office was involved.
The sweep was funded through a G.H.O.S.T. grant and included no overtime expenses,” Wray said.
Sproul said one investigation turned up information on an offender who was out on a pre-trial release, who committed another violation while he was on the release.
“Our main goal is to look for liars. Who’s telling us where they’re living and if it’s true or not,” Sproul said.
He said doing the sweep once a year is important but two times a year would send a message that Lee County is keeping very close track of where they are and what they are doing.