Sex offender guilty of failing to register | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

A Craighead County man convicted of a sex crime in Missouri in 2007 is facing up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to a federal charge of failure to register as a sex offender in Arkansas.

Paul Wayne Clayton, 53, of Bay, was convicted Feb. 28, 2007, in Clarkton, Mo., of second-degree statutory sodomy for a 2004 offense involving a then-14-year-old girl. According to court documents, upon his release from prison, Clayton registered as a Level 3 sex offender at an address in Gideon, Mo., but a compliance check by U.S. marshals and New Madrid County sheriff’s deputies in October 2022 showed the address to have been vacated.

No signs of vehicle traffic were visible at the residence and a large amount of mail was in the mailbox, including nine Missouri State Highway Patrol sex offender registration verification notices dating back to July 2020, according to records. Further investigation, showed that utilities usage dropped drastically in May of 2020, followed by months of non-usage and non-payment, and that water service was shut off to the residence in September 2020.

Investigators found that Clayton had registered a 1997 Chevrolet on March 13, 2020, to an address in Bay belonging to his employer, Dedman Sanitation. On Oct. 28, 2022, a query of databases by U.S. marshals failed to find an updated sex offender registration for Clayton in Missouri or Arkansas, and a drive-by of Dedman Sanitation confirmed that Clayton’s vehicle was parked there.

Clayton was indicted on one count of failure to register as a sex offender in January by a grand jury in Little Rock. He was released on pre-trial release conditions the next month.

Clayton appeared before U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. on Aug. 24 for a plea hearing but was ordered taken into custody after testing presumptively positive for drug use before the hearing.

On Tuesday, Clayton was escorted into the courtroom by U.S. marshals and seated with his attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Cheryl Barnard. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ray White, standing in for Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Eldridge, told Moody that under the terms of the plea agreement Clayton had updated his sex offender registration since his arrest and would qualify for a three-level reduction in the sentencing guidelines.

Moody explained to Clayton that he will be scheduled to be sentenced following completion of a pre-sentence report by the U.S. probation office, a process that normally takes between 60 and 90 days. He allowed Clayton’s release pending sentencing in order for him to check in to an inpatient substance abuse treatment facility.

“He has a ride today to get back home, but he may not tomorrow,” said White. “I don’t object if the court considers that appropriate, and that’s kind of the plan for him between now and sentencing.”

Barnard confirmed that Clayton’s employer was in court to provide Clayton with transportation back to Bay and to give him a ride to the inpatient facility to check in.

“So we would request he be released today,” Barnard said.

“I’m going to release you [to] do that, but if you do anything … that prevents them from taking you in, I’ll reconsider that,” Moody said. “I guess the long and short of it is you’ve got 24 hours not to screw it up.”

Moody did remove a requirement that Clayton wear an ankle monitor because he is going to an inpatient facility, but he cautioned him against leaving without authorization, saying were that to happen, “we probably won’t have to worry about your ankle monitoring because we’ll have you someplace where we know where you’ll be.”

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