Law enforcement officers found no sex offenders to be noncompliant Wednesday during checks conducted to ensure the safety of children on Halloween.
Franklin County Sheriff Steve Pelton said the deputies partnered with officers from Pacific, Union, St. Clair, Sullivan and Washington police departments to check that sex offenders convicted after Aug. 28, 2008, were in compliance.
Registered sex offenders are restricted by state law from participating in Halloween activities. The compliance check allows investigators to ensure the offenders are compliant with both Missouri Sex Offender Rules and Regulations and the Department of Probation and Parole.
Offenders must post a sign at his or her residence stating, “No candy or treats at this residence.”
The restrictions are outlined under Sections 589.400 to 589.42 of the Missouri statutes.
Registered sex offenders can’t have any Halloween-related contact with children, and they are required to turn off all outside residential lighting Oct. 31 after 5 p.m.
Offenders also must stay inside their residence between 5-10:30 p.m. unless required to be elsewhere for just cause, including, but not limited to, employment or medical emergencies, Pelton noted.
By Missouri law, the sheriff’s office is responsible for the registering and monitoring of the sex offenders in the county.
There are over 280 offenders who reside in Franklin County. All offenders register with the sheriff’s office for a variety of charges to include statutory rape, possession of child pornography and child molestation.
“Although it is not required by statute for law enforcement to conduct compliance checks on Halloween, the law enforcement community of Franklin County makes every effort to ensure the safety of the children in our communities,” Pelton said.
Many of the checks were conducted in areas with the potential for Halloween foot traffic, he added.
“These checks focused on subdivisions and trailer parks that experience an influx of children going door to door.”
Anyone found not in compliance faces new criminal charges.
According to Pelton, offenders are mailed a letter reminding offenders that they must comply with the state statutes and avoid Halloween activities.
However, they are not told that officers and deputies will come by to check that they are in compliance.
“We don’t let them know we are coming,” he told The Missourian, “and this is nothing new — we have been doing these Halloween checks for years.
Pelton went on to thank all of the law enforcement agencies that assisted with compliance checks.