Lawton Man Pleads Guilty to Failing to Register as a Sex Offender
OKLAHOMA CITY – ROBERT LEE PIERCE, 70, of Lawton, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty today to traveling from New Mexico to Oklahoma and failing to register as a sex offender, announced Robert J. Troester, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
According to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint filed on May 17, 2018, the U.S. Marshals Service learned that Pierce was registered as a sex offender in New Mexico as of April 3, 2018, but had actually been living in Lawton with his wife and several small children. The affidavit states further investigation revealed Pierce moved to Lawton in the late summer or early fall of 2017. According to the affidavit, Pierce had been convicted of criminal sexual penetration of a minor victim in New Mexico in May 2015. In Oklahoma, he would have been designated as an Aggravated Offender and required to register as a sex offender for life.
Pierce has been in the custody of the Marshals Service since June 5, 2018, when he appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Oklahoma City.
On July 5, 2018, the U.S. Attorney filed an information that charges Pierce with traveling in interstate commerce and failing to register and update his registration as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, or SORNA.
Today Pierce pleaded guilty to the SORNA violation before United States District Judge David L. Russell.
At sentencing, Pierce faces up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. After release, he will be subject to supervision for not less than five years and up to the rest of his life. Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.
This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Marshals Service, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico, and the Lawton Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Hale is prosecuting the case.
Pierce’s conviction is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
Reference is made to court filings for further information.