Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Melissa Merz
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)

mmerz@atg.state.il.us
June 19, 2006

I-SORT HOTLINE TIP LEADS TO ARREST OF REPEAT SEX OFFENDER LIVING UNREGISTERED IN CHICAGO AFTER MOVE FROM COLORADO

Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that a call to the Illinois Sex Offender Registry Team (I-SORT) Hotline has led to the arrest of a repeat sex offender illegally residing in Chicago without having registered with the Chicago Police Department (CPD).

After receiving a tip last Thursday evening on the I-SORT Hotline, investigators from Madigan’s office coordinated with members of the CPD and the U.S. Marshal Service to track down and arrest George Zolliecoffer, 39, early this morning.

Madigan said the tip was called in by a Colorado probation officer alerting I-SORT members that Zolliecoffer had “deregistered” in March 2006 with the Fort Collins, Colo., Police Department and reported he was moving to Illinois. The probation officer later checked the Illinois State Police Sex Offender Registry and did not see Zolliecoffer registered in Illinois. The officer reported to I-SORT members that Zolliecoffer had multiple felony convictions in Colorado, including 1st degree sexual assault, 2nd degree public sexual assault and failure to register . 

“Sexual predators who evade registration are often the most likely to reoffend,” Madigan said. “Because of the I-SORT Hotline and the coordination between local law enforcement, prosecutors and other I-SORT partners, we were able to identify, track down and capture a dangerous sex offender before he could harm any unsuspecting neighbors,” Madigan said.

“ The mission of all law enforcement is to protect our citizens. This case clearly illustrates how very important it is that all of law enforcement work together in a coordinated effort to get these predators off the streets,” said CPD Superintendent Phil Cline.

“This arrest is yet another example of I-SORT’s efforts in addressing fugitive sex offenders. The Great Lakes Task Force is proud to be part of this team,” said Commander Geoff Shank of the U.S. Marshal Service’s Great Lakes Task Force.

According to Cook County State’s Attorney Richard A. Devine’s office, which worked quickly to file charges, Zolliecoffer was charged this afternoon with Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, a Class 3 felony, punishable by two to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC).

“This case demonstrates how effective the I-SORT Hotline is and also how cooperation among law enforcement agencies can promptly remove a potential predator from the streets,” Devine said.

According to Devine’s office, Zolliecoffer is expected to appear for a bond hearing tomorrow, June 20, at 1 p.m. at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse.

Madigan assembled the Illinois Sex Offender Registry Team (I-SORT) in December 2003 to raise awareness of the registry and fix flaws on the site. I-SORT has made and continues to work on significant improvements to the registry, including the addition of a sex offender's compliance status and criminal history and a new label on the site that clearly identifies “sexual predators,” or offenders judged to be the most dangerous and required to register for life. Instructions on how to use the site are also now available in Spanish.

In April 2004, Madigan established the toll-free, anonymous I-SORT Hotline. Citizens and law enforcement can call the Hotline to provide tips on non-compliant sex offenders, to ask questions about the registry or to provide an update if they find incorrect information on the Web site. Madigan said the I-SORT Hotline has received a tremendous response and has provided critical information that has helped locate sex offenders who failed to register as required. Madigan’s office works closely with ISP, IDOC, local and federal law enforcement to respond to calls to the Hotline.

The I-SORT Hotline number is 1-888-41-ISORT (1-888-414-7678). The hotline is answered Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. After those hours, callers are urged to leave a message and their call will be returned promptly.

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