The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said it’s committed to taking a proactive approach to ensure registered sex offenders are in compliance.
The sheriff’s office is currently seeking help in locating Anthony L. Cooper, 31, Union, who has an active felony warrant for failure to register as a sex offender with a $20,000 bond.
Cooper has been on the lam since January. He was charged in May with failing to register as a sex offender.
In 2009 he was charged with first-degree sexual misconduct. The victim was a 17-year-old female in Springfield, Mo. Cooper is a tier-three sex offender.
“We are asking for our citizens’ assistance in sharing this information,” said Sheriff Steve Pelton.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Cooper is asked to contact the detective division at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, 636-583-2560.
Pelton said callers may remain anonymous if they wish.
The sheriff’s office also has enlisted the help of the U.S. Marshals Service to track down Cooper.
“The safety of our citizens is a top priority,” Pelton said.
By Missouri law, the sheriff’s office is responsible for the registering and monitoring of the sex offenders in the county.
Once a sex offender stops registering with the sheriff’s office, he or she is charged with failing to register, a felony.
If the offender continues to be noncompliant and the sheriff’s office thinks that person has left the area, the case is turned over to the marshals service, which has additional resources and fewer restrictions when making an arrest.
Missouri’s registration requirement law took effect in 1995 and recently was updated to classify sex offenders into three tiers. The most dangerous sex offenders are listed in tier three for offenses that include rape, sodomy or first- or second-degree child molestation. Those offenders must register with local police every 90 days for the rest of their lives.
There are more than 280 sex offenders in Franklin County.
Over the past two years, Pelton said, the sheriff’s office has become aggressive in the checks.
The checks are done to ensure offenders are compliant with court-ordered conditions, the Missouri Sex Offender Rules and Regulations and the Department of Probation and Parole, he said.
The conditions include registering their current address and phone number, any temporary/frequented addresses, employment and vehicles registered or driven, Pelton added.
Officers also check to ensure offenders are in compliance with conditions on the use of computer access/sites, email information and the identity of others who reside at the residence.
A map of offenders can be found on the Missouri State Highway Patrol website at www.mshp.dps.mo.gov/CJ38/MapInitialAction?fbclid=IwAR0JOxwdCWYd8hWHnivbUx7ixsxv2qrN8zIl7vW-6W1WMPLJnXfxN0RNPW0.