A registered sex offender received a two-year sentence Monday, Nov. 25, after admitting to attending a trunk-or-treat event at a church near an elementary school.
Eric O’Neal Forshee, 44, Bays Mountain Road, Rockford, pleaded guilty in Blount County Circuit Court to his second offense of violating the sex offender registry.
Under Judge David Duggan’s sentencing, Forshee must serve 180 days in confinement, with credit for the time he has spent in jail since his arrest Oct. 30. The remaining 18 months will be supervised, and Forshee must pay a $600 fine and court costs.
Someone told a Blount County Sheriff’s deputy attending the trunk or treat Oct. 27 at Wildwood Baptist Church, 4705 Porter Circle, Maryville, that Forshee was a registered sex offender and on church grounds.
According to a BCSO report, when the deputy called an investigator, he advised that if people at the church did not want Forshee on the property they would need to ask him to leave and the BCSO would investigate. The following day the investigator and a detective went to the church, which has a playground and is within 1,000 feet of Porter Elementary School, and determined that Forshee’s attending the event violated the sex offender registry.
In January 2016, Forshee pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the registry for failing to report three different Facebook accounts opened since 2010 and failing to disclose an alias, court records show. One of the accounts was under the name Rick O’Neal.
Court records also indicate Forshee violated his probation in 2016 and 2017 by having a smartphone with unauthorized internet access and pornography on the device.
A charge against Forshee of violating the registry by residing with a minor child was dismissed in Blount County General Sessions Court on Nov. 6. According to another BCSO report, a woman told deputies in August that she and her 5-year-old daughter spent two nights at Forshee’s residence.
Forshee denied they had stayed with him, but a rental agreement he allegedly signed in March listed the woman and her child as co-applicant and tenant, the report states.
As of Monday, Nov. 25, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation database showed 71 registered sex offenders in Blount County.
TBI’s records show Forshee was convicted in 2002 of second-degree statutory sodomy and first-degree sexual misconduct.
Each year around Halloween, the Tennessee Department of Corrections conducts “Operation Blackout,” with probation and parole officers visiting the homes of what it considers high-risk sex offenders in an effort to help protect children when they trick or treat.
This year the checks began Oct. 21 and included more than 3,500 offenders.
At least one Blount County arrest resulted this year from Operation Blackout, with an Alcoa man accused of not registering user names to social media accounts he was operating, according to a TDOC spokesman.