Justice finishes compliance check of all V.I. sex offenders

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ST. THOMAS - The V.I. Justice Department successfully completed its third "Operation Island Sweep" to keep track of the registered sex offenders in the territory.

In a joint operation with the U.S. Marshals Service and with the assistance of the V.I. Police Department, a territorywide compliance check of all sex offenders residing, attending school and working within the territory was conducted between July 28 and Aug. 11.

Currently, 59 sex offenders are registered in the St. Thomas-St. John District and Water Island, and 36 sex offenders are registered in the St. Croix District, according to a statement the Justice Department released Thursday.

The department noted that all necessary actions are being taken to locate and apprehend sex offenders who are found to be in violation of territorial or federal sex offender laws by failing to register with the V.I. Justice District.

The department currently is not aware of any unregistered sex offenders within the territory, according to Monica Carbon, counsel to the V.I. Attorney General's Office relating to the sex offender registry.

Investigators accompanied by a U.S. marshal or a police officer visit the residences listed by the offenders to ensure that the offenders are living at the address that is in their documentation with the department.

If the offenders are not at home, the law enforcement officials speak with a resident of the same address or with the landlord or property owner, to ensure that the offender is living at the address as claimed, according to Carbon.

Offenders are required by law to register in the district where they are convicted of the crime, but they also are supposed to contact the authorities if they move from the district and notify the authorities in the originating district and those in the district to which the offender is moving.

"That's what is supposed to happen," Carbon said.

While authorities are aware that offenders have arrived in and departed from the territory without notifying the Justice Department, the department is in frequent communication with jurisdictions outside of the territory to ensure that offenders register in the communities where they live, Carbon said.

All jurisdictions are expected to conduct one-year verification checks with the registered sex offenders in their areas, Carbon said, to ensure that the offenders are tracked by either state or federal agencies.

Within the territory, the public can go online to www.doj.vi.gov or go directly to usvi.nsopw.gov to access the registry and view the list of sex offenders in the territory.

If community members know of a registered sex offender who has failed to register within his or her community, they can contact the Justice Department at 774-5666 on St. Thomas or 773-0295 on St. Croix.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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