The Wahpeton Police Department is notifying the public of a high-risk sex offender that is registered with the department.
Jonathan Robert Abell, 27, is a white male with brown hair and hazel eyes. He is 5’8” tall and weighs 230 pounds.
As of Thursday, Feb. 13, Abell is residing at 426 Fourth St. S. in Wahpeton. He is currently unemployed.
Abell has access to two vehicles which are both owned by family members, the police department stated. One is a 1997 green Chevrolet Bravada, license plate ND 883CMB. The other is a 2004 silver Chevrolet Impala, license place ND 387BDP.
In April 2017, Abell pleaded guilty in Richland County District Court to two counts of class A felony gross sexual imposition. He was originally charged with four counts of class A felony gross sexual imposition, two of which were dismissed. The juvenile victims in those cases were related to Abell.
“This notification is intended to make citizens aware of the presence of a high-risk offender within their communities and to provide education about the notification law,” the Wahpeton Police Department stated.
Illegal activities against a sex offender will not be tolerated and may potentially jeopardize the notification law.
High-risk sex offenders living in Richland County, North Dakota, can be viewed at the attorney general’s website, www.ndsexoffender.com.
The website includes information on high-risk offenders and lifetime registrants.
Families are reminded to develop a safety plan. Open family communication, review of safety tips and know-ledge of common tricks and lures are recommended.
“Avoid situations that could allow an offender to have access to a victim,” the police department stated.
When talking to youth about sex offenders, it’s recommended to avoid scary details. Youth should be told to not accept a ride from that person or any stranger and told to not go near the home of an offender. Youth should tell their parents if an offender tries to talk to them.
“Teach kids to be safe,” the police department advised. “Be sure to reinforce that nobody has the right to hurt you physically or sexually. If somebody does hurt you, it’s not your fault. Don’t keep it a secret.”
Community members are asked to be good neighbors, watching out for others. They should stay informed and share information with their neighbors.
“Contact your local law enforcement if you witness a person who appears to be under the influence of drugs, someone who is behaving aggressively or violently or someone who appears to be engaging in questionable conversation or other questionable interaction with minors,” the police department continued.
Trusting an instinct is recommended. Report any behavior you feel is suspicious. If you see something, say something.
For assistance from the Wahpeton Police Department or Richland County Sheriff’s Office, call 701-642-7777.
In an emergency, call 911.