Chambers Co. Sheriff calls for internal investigation into sex offender notification problem

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CHAMBERS COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – An internal investigation is underway inside the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office after a problem was discovered with a sex offender notification.

On September 6th News 3 did a story on Corderell St. George, who was arrested by Valley police for allegedly trying to rape his neighbor. News 3 has since learned nearby residents were not notified by the Chambers Co. Sheriff’s Office regarding St. George, a convicted sex offender, moving into their neighborhood weeks before the alleged attack.

On September 2nd, Valley police say 29-year-old Corderell St. George broke into his neighbors home along 27th Street, awakened her by hitting her in the head with a hammer and tried to rape her.

News 3 has learned a few weeks before the alleged attack, St. George moved to the Valley area from Lee County and registered as a sex offender with the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office.

St. George is required to register as a sex offender after he was convicted in 2015 of Aggravated Assault with Intent to Rape and False Imprisonment in Muscogee County, George. He was sentenced to a twenty-year split, including time served. St. George served 14-months of the 20-year sentence – before his release in August of 2016.

According to Alabama Law’s Community Notification Act, the Sheriff’s office is required to notify nearby residents a sex offender has moved into their community. Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart shared the following statement with WRBL News 3:

“It has come to the attention of the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office, that the required notifications regarding the address of a sex offender were not distributed in a timely manner. An internal investigation has been initiated to determine the cause and the extent of the breakdown of procedures. Due to the internal matter, no questions will be answered at this time,” stated Sheriff Lockhart.

Valley investigators say the victim, in this case, was aware St. George was a sex offender, without the notification.

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies across the nation, including Chambers County contract with OffenderWatch to help them make the notifications. The State of Alabama contracts with the company based out of Louisiana.

OffenderWatch President Mike Cormaci emailed a statement to News 3 when asked if the company had any issues with their software regarding the Chambers County notification.

“With the recent case in Chambers County, OffenderWatch operated accurately and in accordance with state law, automatically updating the state sex offender registry database and submitting information to the FBI. We value our partnerships with law enforcement and take our commitment to uphold and improve public safety seriously,” said Cormaci.

Corderell St.George is now listed as a Convicted Sex Offender in Chambers County

Sheriff Lockhart tells News 3 the issue is now fixed and it appears all other notifications were correctly handled.

At this point, News 3 does not know how long the internal investigation will take or if Chambers County will make their findings public. We will keep you updated.

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