By Jessica Farrish
BECKLEY, W.Va. — A four-day cooperative effort among West Virginia State Police, the U.S. Marshal’s Southern District Office and Booth Goodwin, U.S. attorney general for the Southern District of West Virginia, netted 54 sex offenders who had failed to comply with the law on mandatory registration.
Police checked the registration status of 317 sex offenders in Summers, Wyoming, Monroe, Mercer and McDowell counties during the sweep.
“Children are most important to us,” West Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous said. “Children and family life — those are our values here in West Virginia. So it’s just natural that we would step up and focus on this area.”
Operation Lump of Coal is the last of three operations aimed at making sure sex offenders — those who have been convicted of raping, sexually assaulting or sexually abusing others — are registered.
“The message we’re trying to send, not only to the individuals that were checked up on in these series of sweeps, is it’s not just going to be these sweeps, and it hasn’t just been these sweeps,” said Goodwin. “The sweeps are designed to add a little fuel to the fire and send a very clear message: If you are caught out of compliance, you will be caught, and you will be prosecuted.”
The federal prosecutor said sex offenders shop around to find states that have more relaxed enforcement and often move to those states — something officers want to prevent in West Virginia…