V.I. Police Department officials arrested repeat sexual offender, Ivan J. Chinnery, also known as “Cookie,” on Saturday, March 1, for fondling a minor in January.
Chinnery, 48, was charged with unlawful sexual contact after he was accused of fondling a minor in the area of the Julius E. Sprauve School bandstand on Wednesday morning, January 16.
“A female minor reported that a man fondled her in the area of the Sprauve bandstand,” according to VIPD spokesperson Melody Rames. “The victim was shown a photo array and identified the suspect on February 10. Police arrested the suspect who was unable to post bail and was remanded to the St. Thomas Bureau of Corrections.”
Releasing Chinnery’s name is a break from the previous VIPD policy of not identifying suspects in crimes related to minors.
“We don’t usually identify people who are associated with crimes with children,” said Rames.
Despite releasing the suspect’s name, the Virgin Islands is still behind the national trend to publicize information on sexual offenders.
While the territory has had a sex offender registry since 1997, it remains open only to law enforcement officials, according to the V.I. Code.
St. Thomas/St. John district Senator Liston Davis introduced a bill in January 2007 to make the V.I. sex offender registry open to the public, and even added a $40,000 appropriation from the General Fund to put the registry online in November 2007.
The sex offender registry legislation, however, has still not been drafted due to a staffing shortage at the V.I. Legislature’s legal counsel.
All 50 states and the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam supply sex offender information online at the U.S. Department of Justice’s national sex offender registry Web site www.nsopr.gov.
The only local stipulation for publicizing sex offenders requires the V.I. attorney general to notify any child care providers when a registered sex offender lives within a one-mile radius of the facility.