Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Jeffrey Gilbert - Noncompliant Sex Offender

Law enforcement officers recently went to look for a registered sex offender at a home on Taney Avenue during a compliance check. Instead, they found a family who had lived there for almost three years.

James Davis said police came to his house on Taney Avenue about three weeks ago, asking for Jeffrey Gilbert.

Police told Davis that Gilbert is a registered child sex offender listed at the address and he had continued to use it as his registered address until last summer.

"I thought that's amazing because I definitely live here," Davis said.

He explained to the officers that no one by that name lived there. But he did not believe he had convinced them.

The officers gave Davis a number to call and report that Gilbert is not a resident at the address. They also gave him a description of the registered sex offender and said to be alert in case he is seen in the area.

Davis decided not to file a complaint -- he did not believe it should be made his responsibility and he wanted to forget about the situation.

The Frederick County Sheriff's Office later publicized the names and addresses of noncompliant sex offenders, including Gilbert listed as a resident at Davis' address.

Brandy Shafer, sex offender program coordinator, said Gilbert once lived at the home. He listed that as his registered address beginning on Jan. 10, 2001.

Since he moved out of the home and Davis' family moved in, Gilbert failed to notify the sheriff's office. Therefore, he still has a warrant for his arrest and investigators will continue to search for him, Shafer said.

Offenders have seven days after their conviction to register with the sheriff's office and five days to register an address change, she said. As soon as a registered sex offender notifies the sheriff's office of a changed address, investigators go to the home within a week to verify their whereabouts.

The sheriff's office conducts at least two unannounced compliance sweeps each year to make sure registered sex offenders in the county are living and working at the addresses they provide, Shafer said.

Throughout the year, the sheriff's office also makes phone calls to offenders to continue tracking them, she said.

To date, 175 registered sex offenders live in the county, Shafer said. Seven of those, including Gilbert, are wanted for arrest.

Spokeswoman Cpl. Jennifer Bailey said the sheriff's office works with other agencies, including the Frederick County Division of Parole and Probation, to conduct the compliance checks. When an investigator finds a sex offender is not living at his/her registered address, the current resident should call in a complaint for further investigation and to correct the information.

"It does happen from time to time," she said.

However, when people read the last registered address of a sex offender, Davis said, they might not realize he or she no longer lives there. That creates a sense of negativity toward whomever currently lives at the address.

"It's misleading," he said, because residents are often paying attention to how close sex offenders are to their neighborhood.

Davis said he can hardly understand why sex offenders should even have to register if officials are not checking for compliance often enough.

He said he does not know what his neighbors are saying about him and his family, if anything. But a person from his leasing office came to his house last week to find out whether a sex offender was living at his address.

"I was offended," he said. "I'm kind of being made to take care of a situation that I didn't create."

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