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FORT EDWARD — A Level 3 sex offender who ducked police for months when he was accused of sex abuse and failing to register his address has been sentenced to up to 11 years in prison after his guilty plea to two felonies.

James B. Gatchell, 43, pleaded guilty to two counts of failure to register as a sex offender in Washington County Court as part of a plea deal. A felony charge of first-degree sexual abuse for alleged abuse of a child was still pending.

Gatchell was sentenced to 3-2/3 to 11 years in orison when he was sentenced last week by Washington County Judge Kelly McKeighan.

Gatchell has three prior sex crime convictions from sexual assaults of underage girls, including counts of second-degree rape, third-degree rape and sodomy. As a Level 3 sex offender, he is considered the highest risk of re-offending.

His registered address was in Argyle, but he moved from a home there in August 2018 to one in Fort Edward and did not notify police or the state Division of Criminal Justice of the new address. That move coincided with police investigation of allegations he had sexual contact with a young child he knew, and he remained on the run for more than 6 months.

He turned himself in at the Washington County Sheriff's Office in February after The Post-Star published an article about his status as a wanted man who had been evading police.

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