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Porter County sex offender guilty of failing to register after dodging trial, officials say

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VALPARAISO — A defendant's failure to show up for trial did not stop a Porter County jury from finding the sex offender guilty on four felony counts of failing to comply with registration requirements, according to the court.

Dewey Camp, 46, who was still on the run as of late Tuesday morning, was found guilty July 27 before Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary DeBoer on the registration offenses.

He faces between six months and two and a half years behind bars when arrested and sentenced, according to Porter County public defender Russell Brown Jr.

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DeBoer opted to go forward with the trial when Camp failed to show, according to the court. The one-day trial resulted in his conviction, and the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

Camp has a second criminal case pending before the judge based on allegations of living too close to a child care provider, court records show.

Camp had initially been found incompetent to stand trial on the registry violations, but that status changed after he was sent away for treatment at a state hospital.

He pleaded guilty in October 2007 to a single felony count of child molesting stemming from allegations of fondling a child over a period of more than three years beginning when the child was in second grade, according to court records.

Camp was sentenced in December 2007 to six years in prison with all but time served suspended and was required to register as a sex offender for life.

"All offenders are required to register annually and any offender that has the predator status is required to report every 90 days to sign in and have a new photo taken," according to Capt. Larry Sheets, who serves as the sex or violent offender registry coordinator for the Porter County Sheriff's Department.

"Offenders are required to register in person with each county that they reside, own property, work or attend secondary education," he said.

The offenders receive a minimum of one residence check a year (though two to three times is more common), with predators checked every 90 days, Sheets said.

Sexually violent predators or offenders against children are prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of a school, youth program center or public park, Sheets said. They also cannot live within one mile of the home of their victim.

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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