Joseph C. Mitchell, recently released from prison, is residing on County Road 20 (Newburg Road) about 1.1 miles from the intersection of Newburg Road and Arkansas Highway 9 in Melbourne. Mitchell was convicted of sexual indecency with a Child on Feb. 12, 2009, involving the offender engaging in sexually explicit conversation and exposing himself via Web cam to a person he believed to be a 13-year-old female. The offender has prior sexual offenses that involved engaging in sexually explicit Internet conversations and exposing himself on two occasions to a person he believed to be a 14-year-old female. Mitchell has disclosed that he had chatted sexually on the Internet with one or two more girls ages fifteen and sixteen. He further admitted that he has exposed his genitals via Web cam about 10 times and half the time the images were sent to minors.
Mitchell is classified as a Level 3 Offender which states that these individuals usually have histories of repeat sexual offending and/or strong antisocial, violent, or predatory personality characteristics. Sexual compulsions are likely to be present, but may be kept under control when relapse prevention plans are followed and treatment is continued. The offense patterns of Level 3 Offenders reflect a relatively high probability of re-offense and/or risk of substantial injury to victims should re-offense occur.
Mitchell is described as a 46-year-old white male, 5'11" tall, weighs 166 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.
Sheriff Tate Lawrence said that a sex offender notification is being hand delivered to residences within close proximity to Mitchell's residence.
This notification is not intended to increase fear, rather it is our belief that an informed public is a safer public. The Izard County Sheriff's Department has no legal authority to direct where a sex offender lives. Unless court-ordered restriction exists, the offender is constitutionally free to live where he or she chooses.
Lawrence went on to say that sex offenders have always lived in our communities; but it wasn't until the passage of the Sex and Children Offender Act that law enforcement even knew were they were living. In many cases law enforcement is now able to share information with the public.
This information cannot be used to threaten, intimidate, or harass registered sex offender; otherwise law enforcement's ability to do community notification could potentially end. We believe the only one who wins if the community notification ends is the sex offender in that sex offenders derive their power through secrecy.
The offender should not have unsupervised access to children and should not have access to the Internet.