Sex offender gets prison over address notification

March 07, 2011|By DON AINES |

HAGERSTOWN — — A convicted sex offender charged with failing to notify authorities of a change of address was sentenced Monday in Washington County Circuit Court to three years in state prison.

Andre Kevin Richardson, 40, no fixed address, was charged with three counts of failure to register as a sex offender and pleaded guilty to two with the third charge dismissed as part of the plea agreement. He was convicted of sodomy and a first-degree sex offense in St. Louis in 1996, according to the application for statement of charges filed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Richardson, who told Circuit Judge Daniel P. Dwyer he had been living in Washington County since 2003, told the sheriff’s office in February 2010 that his address was a cold weather shelter on West Franklin Street, according to charging documents. In March, he notified the sheriff’s office he had moved to an apartment on Fairground Avenue, and less than two weeks later told authorities he had moved to South Prospect Street, the documents show.

Richardson later told officials he was moving to another address on South Prospect Street, according to the documents. Efforts by the sheriff’s office to verify the addresses Richardson had given showed that he had not lived in those apartments, the documents show.

“This is a very onerous system. It’s become more onerous recently,” Assistant Public Defender Michael Wilson said of Maryland’s sexual offender registration requirements.

Richardson said it was difficult to find housing with his background as a convicted sex offender. The homeless shelter will only house people for one month, and he can only use the cold weather shelter as an address in the winter, he told Dwyer.

“Three times, they could not find you at the address given,” Dwyer told Richardson.

Even a homeless person has to make a good-faith effort to notify authorities of where they are staying, Dwyer said.

In addition to the three years in prison, Dwyer gave  Richardson an additional three-year suspended sentence and three years of supervised probation upon his release.

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