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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 8, 2015

Convicted Sex Offender Pleads Guilty To Federal Charge Of Failure To Register As A Sex Offender

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the return of an indictment charging Rodney Joel Neal (53, Montezuma, Georgia) with failing to register as sex offender after traveling from Georgia to Florida. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Neal has been in custody since his arrest on related state charges on October 10, 2014.

According to the indictment, in May 1988, Neal was found guilty and sentenced for committing two criminal offenses, aggravated child molestation and child molestation, in Macon County, Georgia. Subsequent to his conviction, Neal traveled from Georgia to Florida and failed to register in Florida as a sex offender as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act is part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. The Adam Walsh Act provides for the use of federal law enforcement resources, including the United States Marshals Service, to assist state and local authorities in locating and apprehending non-compliant sex offenders.

This case was investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the United States Marshals Service, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

It is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

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Updated February 5, 2015