Three troopers with the West Virginia State Police are responsible for registering more than 800 sex offenders in Kanawha County.
These troopers know the names, faces, and personal details of the men and women who are responsible for committing what some would say are the most heinous of crimes that one could commit.
About 200 of those offenders are child abusers.
This inception of the unit, the way it operates today, began in 2014 when Cpl. C. Pauley was first transferred. “It was obvious that I needed help. It’s just a lot to register in this county alone,” Pauley said.
Cpl. J. Burgess and Sgt. J. McClung followed. The three quickly learned that they would be best served working as closely and as efficiently as possible.
“We have a good rapport with each other,” Pauley said. “We’re good as a team.”
Burgess added, “We’ll be in the middle of doing things and it’s like we can even finish each other’s sentences now.”
Days are long. McClung said, “I don’t think people realize the totality of what we do.”
Each sex offender in Kanawha County has ten days to register if any major changes occur in their lives- where they live, work, what they drive, even social media accounts.
If an offender is arrested, they have three days to register that information.
All sex offenders must register annually during the month of their birth.
Predators, offenders who either have more than one offense or their victims were especially young, have to come in every three months.
Most importantly, they said, is to violate offenders if they aren’t in compliance. “They should have learned their lesson and sometimes they don’t,” McClung said.
Two offenders were in the office to register while I was there. “It don’t bother me to report. If anyone asks me what happened, I’ll tell them,” one said.
I asked, “Can we talk about what happened?”
The offender said yes.
He spent about eight years in prison.
He said, “I accept my charge. I did wrong. I ain’t gonna deny it.”
I asked, “So you admit that you did what you’re accused of?”
“Yeah,” he said. “I was under the influence of four bottles of Jack Daniels and tequila and about two ounces of weed back then. But, I did it.”
I asked him the age of his victim. He replied, “4, 5, 6, and 8.”
Burgess said the plea deal that he took in 1989 included one victim, listed as 11 years old. Disturbing, no doubt, but this is a typical day in the life of these three women.
Burgess said, “It is very rewarding to know that we are giving some kind of justice to that victim by holding these people very accountable for what they’ve done.”
Pauley agreed. “We have to make sure they walk the line.”
Keep in mind, they are daughters, mothers, aunts, and wives.
“It’s hard,” Pauley said, answering a question about seperating work life from home life. “But you just have to remember that when you’re home, you’re home. You have to focus on the good things in life and what you’re blessed with.”
For more information about the sex offender registry in West Virginia, click here.
Troopers added that tips from the public are vital. You can always remain anonymous.