Molester arrested at children’s program

John Kerby

A Grand Junction man who failed to renew his registration as a convicted sex offender was arrested Thursday while attending a children’s Christmas program.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department had been looking for the 30-year-old offender, John Joseph Kerby, since last month when he failed to renew his mandatory registration with the department as required by law.

Kerby, who is listed by the department as being homeless, initially was convicted in 2007 of sexual exploitation of a child, a class 3 felony. His last known address listed on the state’s registry is 2910 North Ave, Apt. 3B.

The deputy who spotted him was at a Christmas program at a local church when he noticed Kerby seated in the audience. The deputy, who was off duty at the time, contacted on-duty deputies, who made the arrest.

The deputy asked that he not be identified because his daughter was performing in the program, and he fears she might be the target of retaliation if Kerby knew his identity, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said.

“He was just there as a parent watching the program and was aware that we were looking for Kerby,” Benjamin said. “The deputy’s child was part of the Christmas program, and we’re not sure what Kerby was doing there. We don’t want him to know who the deputy was or his child. He’s concerned about his daughter.”

Kerby could be charged with failure to renew his registration, a class 6 felony that carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in jail and a $100,000 fine, she said.

There are thousands of sexual predators on the state’s registry.

In Mesa County, there are 344 on the list, 34 of which have been convicted of multiple sexual offenses, and seven are sexually violent predators, according to the registry. Forty of those Mesa County offenders have failed to renew their registration at one time or another, and half of those 40 have a history of failing to do so.

Benjamin said the Sheriff’s Department had been looking for Kerby for the past two weeks, but not because it feared he might commit another sex crime. She said the department monitors when all local sex offenders are due to renew their registration, and it goes after those who fail to do so.

“It’s pretty standard for us to notify the public when we have a sex offender who failed to register,” she said. “It’s one of the areas that the sheriff is extremely serious about.”


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