Sharon police have tracked down 64 sex offenders in the city — and discovered 14 had not verified either their place of employment or their addresses as required by law.
Megan’s Law requires that sex offenders update that information with the Pennsylvania State Police in a timely manner. A U.S. Marshals Service grant allowed the city to do the check.
Seven of the convicted sex offenders were arrested on the charge of failing to provide accurate information, according to Sharon police reports. One is still at large.
The grant paid Sharon police $7,000 for Operation Safe Tiger, which was conducted between May 26 and June 29. The department did not use all of the grant money but put 123 manhours into the operation.
Sharon police Capt. Travis Martwinski, who has been tracking sex offenders in Sharon for 12 years, said Operation Safe Tiger yielded a high volume of non-compliance charges.
“I probably charged a dozen people (in 12 years), and we charged seven in one month,” Martwinski said.
Sharon police were able to find 63 of 64 people subject to Megan’s Law provisions, and to verify compliance or non-compliance.
“In the past, the only investigations we did were ones that we got tips on or they fell out of compliance with the paperwork and Harrisburg would send me an investigation request and we would follow up on that,” Martwinski said.
The U.S. Marshals Service contacted the Sharon Police Department because the city has an unusually high number of sex offenders, Martwinski said.
As of Wednesday, Sharon had 56 sex offenders out of 332 in Mercer County, according to the state police Megan’s Law website. The state’s figure includes sex offenders who are incarcerated in the State Correctional Institution of Mercer and Mercer County Jail, both in Findley Township.
The other county municipalities with the highest number of sex offenders, either as residents or employees of a business, are Findley Township, 50; Hermitage, 26; Greenville, 17; and Farrell, 16.
During the investigation, Martwinski and other members of the police department formulated a worksheet of questions for police officers to ask offenders.
“We asked all of them what their sentencing county was. We asked them what brought them to Sharon, and we asked them if they were ever a resident of the halfway house,” he said.
Of the 64 people, Sharon police verified that 26 had been sentenced in Mercer County and 21 of the sex offenders had spent time in the Sharon Community Correction Center at 300 W. State St.
“If we could get this grant every two years, it would definitely help us keep these guys compliant,” Martwinski said.
The sex offenders from Sharon charged in July with failure to provide accurate information are:
• Philip J. Swaney Jr., 49, last known address of 645 Meek St.; Swaney remains at large. Police strongly believe he is in New York, Martwinski said.
• Michael J. Davey, 54, of 269 Ormond Ave.; Davey was previously deemed a sexually violent predator. He was taken to Mercer County Jail on a monetary bond.
• Kenneth Clair Peterson, 35, of 283 Orchard St.; Peterson is a Tier III Megan’s Law offender. He was released on his own recognizance.
• Otis Ervin Sanders, 65, of 200 Orange Drive, Apartment 8, Hermitage; Sanders is accused of failing to notify authorities that he was no longer employed. Charges were waived to Common Pleas court. He was released after posting an unsecured bond.
• Sean David Johnson, 42, of 579 Baldwin Ave.; Johnson is accused of failing to notify authorities that he was no longer employed. Charges were held for Common Pleas court. He was released after posting an unsecured bond.
• Kurt Michael Good, 31, of 401 S. Oakland Ave.; Good is accused of failing to notify authorities that he moved from 42 E. State St. until Sharon police and the U.S. Marshals found him at his South Oakland address. Charges were waived for Common Pleas court. He was taken to Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond.
• Robert Allen Gill, 35, of 109 S. Myers Ave.; Gill is accused of failing to notify authorities that he was no longer employed. Charges were withdrawn at the district court level.