Monday, February 9, 2009

Sex Offenders Listed, A Few Names Retracted

by Josh Mei

The Athens County Prosecutor’s office recently sent out news releases listing sex offenders illegally living within 1,000 feet of Athens County school premises, but has retracted a few names after finding new information regarding their locations.

Ten sex offenders from Nelsonville, Athens and Chauncey were originally named but five men were removed from the list as one of them accidentally had his work address listed, and the other four are no longer living near public school property.

Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly, Auditor Jill Thompson and Prosecutor C. David Warren established the sex offenders’ locations on Wednesday using a newly developed mapping system from the Auditor’s Office.

Thompson said that the new mapping systems will make it easier to track sexual offenders and their location related to schools.

Four men on the first news release are from Nelsonville, but have been removed from the list, since the property they live on is no longer under the Nelsonville-York School district.

442 W. Franklin Street was an address that was removed from the list

The following men from Nelsonville are no longer on the eviction list: Samuel Donald Woods, Dale Edward Norris, Terry Ray Schwab, and Samuel Bryan Kinnison.

County Auditor Jill Thompson said that all the original locations were checked, but some confusion with a few addresses resulted in the lack of accuracy in the first press release.

County Auditor Jill Thompson clarifies what happened

Ordered to Move

According to Warren, prosecuting attorneys can prohibit sex offenders from living 1,000 feet away from school property under Ohio Law.

All the men are listed on a state website as Tier II (mid-level) sex offenders. This means they have to register any address change with the local sheriff. However, there is currently no automatic alert system to inform the sheriff if anyone is located on school property.

Although Warren's office has the power to order these men to move with a firm deadline, some of them have previously refused to relocate.

Warren said the sex offenders have until Monday, February 9, to move out, and those who don’t could get court orders forcing them to leave and those on probation could go back to jail.

Most of the offenders have only been registered at their addresses for about six weeks.

One man currently lives in Athens and is located next door to West Elementary School on Central Avenue, and Warren said he has the worst record of those listed.

Oren Raymond Apple, 31, is on parole and was convicted of two counts of kidnapping, based on an alleged attempt to rape and assault an adult female Ohio University student in 2001.

From left, Robert Leroy Anderson, Oren Raymond Apple, Tinker L. Rutter, and Charles E. Spears

The other three men on the list are 21-year-old Robert Leroy Anderson at Hammill Road in Albany, 32-year-old Tinker L. Rutter at Mound Street in Chauncey, and Charles E. Spears at Main Street in Chauncey.

Both Rutter and Spears’ offenses are listed as unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Anderson’s listed offense is not clear, but lists the victim as a “youth female.”

Parent Reactions
When asked about the recent discovery, many residents and parents of school children were shocked and surprised.

However, a parent of a high school student was well aware of the locations of the sex offenders and said she was happy that the media announced their names to the public.
Debbie Cox, a parent at Nelsonville-York High School said she frequently checks the internet and likes to stay fairly updated on these things.

Debbie Cox, a parent from Nelsonville-York expresses her feelings

In January 2008, Ohio enacted the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORN), which had the effect of re-classifying sex offenders from a lower tier into Tier III, the highest classification.

This means they have to register with their county sheriff’s office for the rest of their lives, whereas formerly lower-level offenders had to register for shorter periods of time.

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