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News Operation Mountaintop yields more arrests

Initiative enforces registration of sex offenders.

The Macon County Sheriff’s Office participated in the U.S. Marshals Service Operation Mountain Top on Aug. 1. This was a multiagency, multi-county initiative to verify that registered sex offenders were in compliance with all Federal and North Carolina registration requirements. Participating agencies included the U.S. Marshals Service, Macon County Sheriff’s Office, 30th District Attorney’s Office, FBI, N.C. SBI, N.C. Division of Community Corrections, and the Sheriff’s Offices in Clay, Graham and Cherokee counties.

The purpose of this initiative was to enforce the provisions of SORNA, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act which is Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-248). SORNA provides a comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States. SORNA aims to close potential gaps and loopholes and strengthen the nationwide network of sex offender registration and notification programs. In addition to the initial registration requirements, North Carolina law requires registered sex offenders to verify their information in the registry twice a year.

In Macon County five teams of officers conducted 49 random compliance checks on registered sex offenders, made contact with 39 individuals and searched 30 residences. One felony arrest was made on Aug. 1, and additional violations are being investigated with additional felony charges expected. Eric D. Holland, 30, of Addington Place, Franklin, was charged with failing to report new address, a class F felony.

Since the Aug. 1 sweep of sex offender registration compliance checks, more arrests have been made. Those arrested include: Anthony Yuzzi Jr., 46; James Bundy, 29; William Charles Freimuth, 48; Alex William Rusch, 23; Jodie Lorene Simpson, 38; and Michael Paul Ward Jr., 36. All were charged with felonies for not complying with federal or state sex offender registration requirements.

“Requiring a registered sex offender to follow North Carolina registration requirements is not unfair,” Sheriff Holland states: “While some of the violations may seem minor, they are requirements that the sex offenders were informed of when they initially registered. My office will continue to have a zero tolerance policy for registration violations by convicted sex offenders and those who fail to comply with the law will be held accountable.”

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