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Army Sex Offender on Duty in Texas
Florida Times-Union  |  August 31, 2007
Though a judge ordered him supervised by Florida probation officials, a registered Nassau County sex offender has left the state, courtesy of the Army.

A month after pleading guilty to lewd and lascivious conduct with a teenage girl, Spc. Shawn Stacy Sapp, 38, is back on duty as a helicopter mechanic at Fort Hood, Texas. Officers there reviewed his charges and determined he was "retainable in the U.S. Army," court documents show.

"I just find it hard to believe that they would have convicted sex offenders in the military. We can't be that desperate," said Assistant State Attorney Jonathan Sacks, one of two Nassau prosecutors who worked on Sapp's case.

A captain and a first sergeant at Fort Hood who were involved in the decision to retain Sapp didn't return phone calls Monday afternoon.

Sapp will be supervised by the Texas Department of Corrections under an arrangement with Florida, Florida corrections spokeswoman Jo Ellyn Rackleff said. Circuit Judge Robert Foster ordered that Sapp not be deployed overseas, Rackleff said.

Sapp was in Fernandina Beach on leave when his crime occurred in 2003, Rackleff said. She said he was arrested in Texas in 2005 after returning from overseas deployment and extradited to Florida. He was in jail for nearly two years before reaching the plea deal, Sacks said.

Initially he was charged with one count of lewd and lascivious conduct and four counts of sexual battery involving a minor. Prosecutors dropped the sexual battery counts under the plea agreement.

His attorney, Teresa Sopp, couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

Foster sentenced him July 17 to 689 days time served and three years of probation, and Sapp was required to register as a sex offender. Florida's sex offender registry lists his location as Bell County, Texas, and says he notified the Florida Department of Law Enforcement about that address Aug. 10.

Sacks said Sopp presented a letter to the court in early August from Capt. Chad Corrigan, Sapp's commanding officer at Fort Hood.

"Upon review of the charges ... Shawn S. Sapp has been determined retainable in the U.S. Army," Corrigan wrote. "Service member is still on active duty."

Sapp isn't listed on the Texas sex offender registry.

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