Parents across this country teach their children to look to police officers if ever they are in need. It is ingrained in our children to trust those willing to risk it all. Above that, there is an unspoken brotherhood among those who put on a uniform every day.
Police now say former Richmond Hill police officer Jeffrey Allen Allmond Jr. violated that trust in the most egregious way.
According to the staff of WSAV, Allmond connected with two girls aged 15 and 16 on the dating site Tinder. Allmond then further maintained an inappropriate connection with the girls via SnapChat, an app which shares photos and automatically deletes messages.
Then police officer Allmond did the unthinkable. In the middle of the night, he picked up the young girls at the gates of Fort Stewart where they lived with their military families.
WSAV reports that he drove them back to his apartment and engaged in sex acts with them before returning them to post under the cover of night.
Allmond continued to exploit the girls via SnapChat after their first encounter. He then returned to Fort Stewart two more times, luring the teens away from the base to perform sexual acts on them.
WSAV’s Andrew Davis reports that the Richmond Hill Police Department took swift action against Allmond upon learning of the allegations and placed him on immediate administrative leave.
“This conviction validates our department’s actions in immediately suspending, and then terminating, Allmond when the allegations came to our attention,” said Richmond Hill Police Chief Mitch Shores.
He said they don’t take cases like this lightly.
“We take such betrayals of the public trust very seriously, and gave full assistance to the agencies that investigated and prosecuted this case.”
Georgia Bureau of Investigations Director Vic Reynolds admonished Allmond’s actions saying:
“This law enforcement officer violated his oath of office by preying upon minors he swore to protect… No one is above the law. The protection of innocent victims is a priority in the state of Georgia.”
Georgia Bureau of Investigations wasn’t the only agency working to catch Allmond.
Savannah Morning News reports that the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division also partnered in the investigation.
An official press release from the US Attorney’s Office quotes Chris Grey, spokesman for the U.S Army Criminal Investigation Command:
“We are glad that we were able to assist our fellow law enforcement agencies in bringing this individual to justice… We strive every single day to do everything possible to protect our soldiers, civilians and family members.”
Allmond will serve a minimum of ten years to life in prison for exploiting and violating children of American service members.
WSAV reports that he was convicted by a federal jury on one count of coercion and enticement of a minor. Charges originally included aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child molestation, according to WSAV’s Davis.
Parole is not available in federal prison and Allmond will be required to register as a sex offender if he is eventually released.
Attorney Bobby L. Christine for the Southern District of Georgia states:
“This repugnant crime victimized the children of active-duty military personnel while disgracing the badge of a law enforcement officer… Hard time in federal prison awaits those who would engage in such despicable behavior.”
On the sex offender registry topic, disturbingly more and more states are starting to debate the constitutionality of the registry.
Earlier this month, for example, the Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that a state law requiring the registry of all sex offenders is unconstitutional.
Why? They say it violates offenders’ rights to due process.
The ruling was issued after a 3-2 decision. The court said an offender has to be given another chance.
A chance for what?
To prove he or she is rehabilitated and no longer remains a threat to the public, they say.
“Our decision requiring an individualized risk-assessment hearing is based on the judicial power,” the court wrote in its opinion.
The onus is on the offender.
If they can “can show at a hearing that he does not pose a risk requiring registration, then there is no compelling reason requiring him to register, and the fact that ASORA does not provide for such a hearing means that the statute is unnecessarily broad.”
In a seemingly hypocritical move, however, the court upheld a lower court ruling mandating the registration of sex offenders upon moving to Alaska if they were required to register in another state as well.
Currently, the Alaska Sex Offender Registry Act requires sex offenders to register with law enforcement 30 days before being released from jail or prison … or within a day of a conviction where the sentence doesn’t include jail time.
That ruling comes from a 2016 case involving an unnamed man convicted in 2000 of sexual battery in Virginia.
In the end, he was sentenced to five years in prison, but the time was suspended. He also got five years’ probation and was required to register as a sex offender.
He later moved to Alaska. That’s where he registered as a sex offender annually for several years, and then decided to stop. He sued the state and claimed the sex offender registry law violated his rights to due process.
Alaska isn’t the only state dealing with the topic. Earlier this month, a U.S. district court judge ruled Michigan’s sex offender registry was also unconstitutional.
Charles Engram is a registered sex offender, whowas charged with criminal sexual conduct in 2011.
He was released in December 2018 after he served prison time. Now he can’t go near schools, and his information is public and he is tracked by a tether.
“They can have you put back in prison just like that,” Engram said. “That’s not the same for a person who’s killed somebody. They can have five or six bodies on their hands and they get released, they get parole. There’s no tether put on their leg, none of that,” Engram said.
According to Engram, he was originally to be placed on the registry for 15 years, but says later it was changed to life.
“It should be designed for those people who are very sick sex offenders who need treatment, who need to be regulated. Not all people who committed a sex offense crime are like that,” Engram said.
On the flip side is Eric Layton, a sexual abuse survivor.
“You’re accused of it. You’re convicted of it. Come on now. We as a community have to prioritize things. And I don’t believe the priority should be an offender’s innocence or assistance from the state – what he can or cannot get. It’s your fault. You’re an offender. Suck it up,” said Layton.
Layton talks about being sexually abused as a child.
“Being molested in foster care, that pretty much took a toll on me that I didn’t really realize until adulthood. It’s a tough thing to hear these types of headlines,” Layton said.
Layton argues the sex offender registry not only prevents future assaults, but it gives survivors peace… and says revising it feels like a slap in the face.
“You should first consider protecting the survivors and preventing this from creating other victims. And then allow offenders what you deem a lesser action or charge, allow them to fight their own battles,” Layton said.
The judge gave the state of Michigan 90 days to change the registry.