FORT EDWARD — A Level 3 sex offender who police have been seeking for 6 months surrendered to officers Monday after police got numerous tips thanks to recent media attention on the case.
James B. Gatchell, 42, turned himself in to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office three days after a Post-Star article about his efforts to evade police since warrants for sexual abuse and failure to register as a sex offender were filed last summer.
Fort Edward Police Chief Justin Derway said police got numerous tips after the publication of the article as to where Gatchell had been staying and working, which police were investigating. He said he believed Gatchell knew police were closing in on him, so he chose to give himself up.
Gatchell faces felony charges of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of failure to register as a sex offender.
His registered address was in Argyle, but he moved from that home last August 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 child he knew.
He 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.
Gatchell was arraigned Monday in Fort Edward Town Court and sent to Washington County Jail without bail, as he has at least two prior felony convictions.