Benton Co. Sheriff’s Office Says Law Allows Level 4 Sex Offender To Live In Van

BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- The Benton County Sheriff's Office said Monday (Oct. 17) the law allows a level 4 registered sex offender to register as homeless and live in a van.

"It's kind of weird," Sgt. Hunter Petray with the Criminal Investigations Division said. "They can register to a motor home, to a motor vehicle, or they can actually register to a boat, believe it or not."

Sean Nichol Blackerby recently relocated to Benton County and is being supervised by the sheriff's office. He is living in the Rogers area in a green 1996 Ford Econoline van, according to a post on the sheriff's office Facebook page.

"It's not an ideal situation for the county or for the sheriff's office," Petray said. "We are not okay with this."

Petray said Blackerby is at least outfitted with an ankle monitor, so authorities can track his movements.

"We know within two to three minutes where this individual is located [and] if he's located in one location for more than five minutes, we're alerted," he said.

Blackerby is also not allowed within a certain distance of schools, daycares and parks and is forbidden from participating in Halloween.

In 2006, then-28-year-old Blackerby was accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl, the documents state. In a recorded phone call with the girl's mother, Blackerby apologized for what happened and urged her not to press charges, according to the documents.

He was convicted of two counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of fourth-degree sexual assault in 2006 and was sentenced to 16 years in prison with eight years suspended, according to court documents.

As level 4 sex offender, Blackerby is considered a sexually violent predator, who has a high likelihood of re-offending.

"We can understand your concern," Petray said. "The best thing to do would be to call your representative and to talk to them about your concerns."

Petray said the sheriff's office cannot change the law, but he hopes it is something the legislature would consider during their next legislative session.

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