County-wide sex offender checks

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - Thousands convicted of sex crimes are registered in Tennessee.

Some could be living in your neighborhood, but if their information on the registry isn't current, you could be in danger.

There are more than 100 sex offenders listed on the registry with a Jefferson County address.

They're supposed to check in every three months, but police say it's difficult to go out to their home more than once a year to confirm that.

So for three days, the US Marshals teamed up with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office to blitz the county and do home checks on every registered sex offender.

It's called Operation Patriot Games, and the Marshals invited Local 8 News along for the ride as officers banged on doors.

We started at the home of Earl Lee Fox in New Market. He's been convicted of statutory rape and aggravated rape.

When police knocked, no one answered. The only person on the property said Fox has been gone for three weeks, which would be a violation of the terms of his release.

"If they come in to the sheriff's office and give them a fake address, they may not be actually living at that address. They may be living somewhere else, and that's one thing we're trying to determine is if they're where they say they're living," said Derrick Swenson, the US Marshals Sex Offender Investigations Coordinator.

Next up was Joseph Fields in Strawberry Plains. His offense listed is attempted aggravated sexual battery.

He was home, but his wife lives in Knox County, so officers thoroughly checked his house to find signs of residency.

"We go into their bedrooms to make sure they have clothes there and confirm that they're living there. We check with the neighbors. We just do a thorough check in making sure their information is correct," said Jefferson County Sheriff G.W. "Bud" McCoig.

Police drove down to Knox County to check with her, and she confirmed Fields' explanation.

Toshia Quinton is on probation for aggravated statutory rape, but wasn't at her New Market home.

Neighbors say she's rarely there, but did give another address a few miles away.

"Any leads we get, we will use them to track them down in trying to figure out exactly where they're living," said Swenson.

They saw no sign of Quinton, but they found evidence of a different crime.

"We found drug paraphernalia where they'd been smoking crack at this residence," said Sheriff McCoig.

The operation wrapped up on Thursday afternoon.

The Marshals say they checked on 88 residents who actually live in the borders of Jefferson County. Four were caught violating their registry, and two violated their probation.

Six were arrested for possessing drug paraphernalia, and one was busted with crack cocaine.

During the searches, one non-sex offender was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell.

It was an extensive three-day $4,000 operation, with lots of overtime and manpower. But Sheriff McCoig says you can't put a price tag on people's safety and peace of mind.

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