Apparently, the fact that Ohio law requires registered sex offenders to check in periodically with law enforcement agencies had no impact on Benjamin Allen Watson of Bellaire. Perhaps three years behind bars will deter him from violating the statute after he is released.
Watson spent time in prison on a 1997 rape charge. After being set free, he was told that, as a Tier Three sex offender, he was required to register every 90 days with the local sheriff's office. He failed to do that - repeatedly.
On Monday, after being convicted of five counts of failing to register, Watson appeared in Belmont County Common Pleas Court. Judge Jennifer Sargus sentenced him to three years in prison.
Ohio's sex offender registry laws were created for a reason, as county Prosecuting Attorney Chris Berhalter noted. They are intended to safeguard the public by providing information on the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders. Watson chose to ignore the law.
Berhalter and local law enforcement officials were right to prosecute him, and Sargus' sentence was right on track. Unless convicted sex offenders are shown there are consequences for failing to register, they will not comply with the law.