SORNA Offender Sentenced To 48 Months In Federal Prison
WICHITA FALLS, Texas — Joseph Higgins, 35, most recently of Wichita Falls, Texas, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor to 48 months in federal prison for failing to register as a sex offender, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to documents filed in the case, Higgins was convicted in the Circuit Court for the State of Oregon for Union County in June 2000 of rape and sodomy and was sentenced to 75 months on each count, to run concurrently. He was also required to register as a sex offender, a requirement that he acknowledged when he was released from custody in May 2012. On November 9, 2012, Higgins registered as a sex offender with the LaGrande Police Department in Oregon.
In January 2012, Higgins moved to Texas. He failed to advise the State of Oregon of the move and he failed to register in Texas as a sex offender, as required by the Sex Offender Registration Notification Act (SORNA). The Wichita Falls Police Department issued an arrest warrant for Higgins on May 15, 2013, charging him with failing to comply with registration requirements, and he was arrested the following day.
Higgins admitted he knew he was a sex offender, and he knew of his duty to register. He admitted he had been convicted of raping a 13-year-old victim.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative, which was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ and click on the tab “resources.”
The Wichita Falls Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Camille Sparks prosecuted.