MARION COUNTY, Ind. – There is a new sign inside the jail.
Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal said when he was campaigning for his position in 2018, he found out that 40 percent of violent sex offenders were sentenced elsewhere and then moved to the metro area.
“I don’t know what gets them to think Marion County is the best place,” he said. “We like Hoosier hospitality, but not necessarily serious sexual violent predators.”
Forestal said that led him to investigate why sex offenders were choosing Indianapolis.
“Sometimes it could be that it was a self-created by government, making things too easy to be here,” he explained. “And I don’t really want that to be.”
Forestal said his biggest concern is that sex offenders are not following the law. It’s why he created and posted new signs around the downtown building, warning sex offenders they need to register their new address within 72 hours.
“I want to be sure they know the law. When they move from another state to Marion County, we will expect them to comply with that law, and if not, we will present charges to the prosecutor,” he said.
The signs read: “Notice to convicted sex offenders. Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal expects strict compliance with the statutes and regulations covering your release. Failure to comply will result in charges being presented to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.
If you have any doubts about your ability to strictly comply, there is a bus station and train station within walking distance. If you plan to comply step forward for the process to continue.”
Sheriff Forestal said they’ve already received some feedback about the signs.
“The sergeant that runs the desk said some people come up to the window and say it’s unfair. Okay. Really? Unfair? We’re explaining the rules ahead of time so that they understand. When they were sentenced and when they did that crime, how unfair was that to that victim?”
One sign is posted right near the window where sex offenders would register. MCSO is also handing out pamphlets so sex offenders can take the reading material home.
Sheriff Forestal said he plans to hold public forums in the future to discuss sex offenders and whether there are any gaps in the law. He said there may be policies that lawmakers want to examine closer.