Fitzgerald man handed federal court sentence, two found illegally in southwest Georgia

A convicted felon and registered sex offender has been sentenced to prison for failing to provide information related to his intended international travel, as required by federal law.

MACON — A convicted felon and registered sex offender was sentenced to prison for failing to provide information related to his intended international travel, as required by federal law, Peter D. Leary, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said in a news release.

Michael Walker, 45, of Perry, was sentenced to serve 20 months in prison by U.S. District Chief Judge Marc T. Treadwell, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Walker previously pleaded guilty on Oct. 21, 2020 to one count of failure of a sex offender to provide information relating to intended international travel. There is no parole in the federal system.

Walker departed the United States on the cruise ship “Carnival Paradise” on Dec. 12, 2019, for a four-day cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. The ship returned to Tampa, Fla., on Dec. 16, 2019. Walker was required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act to report his intended foreign travel no later than 21-days prior to departure, which he failed to do. Upon the ship’s arrival in Tampa, Customs and Border Protection officers boarded the ship and placed Walker under arrest. Walker was previously convicted on April 22, 2004, of child molestation in the Superior Court of Houston County. He is a Level 2 sex offender and is required to register as a sex offender in Georgia yearly for the rest of his life.

“The sex offender registration and notification programs are in place to protect the public,” Leary said. “Registered sex offenders who disregard the laws governing their movements will face federal prosecution and federal prison. I want to thank the U.S. Marshals and Customs and Border Protection for their work protecting the public and holding this defendant accountable.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

“The United States Marshals Service has prioritized investigations of registered sex offenders who travel between states, or internationally, and fail to notify authorities as required by law,” U.S. Marshal John Cary Bittick said. “Our district, working with our local and state partners, has dedicated men and women that focus their investigative expertise to locate, apprehend, and prosecute noncompliant sex offenders.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul C. McCommon III and Alex Kalim prosecuted the case for the government.

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