A Hawkins County man classified as a violent sex offender against children was taken into custody Sunday and transported to the Hamblen County Jail to face a charge he violated the state sex offender registry law, authorities say.
Robert Leon Audette III, 37, allegedly failed to notify authorities when he lost his job at a Morristown industry in December 2019, according to Terri Beth Vaughn, sex offender registry clerk for the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department, who says Audette moved to East Tennessee in the fall of 2019.
Audette was convicted of the third-degree rape – an offense similar to statutory rape – and sexual exploitation of a minor in the Saratoga, New York area – about 190 miles north of New York City – in 2002. In 2011, he was convicted of unlawful photographing an underage girl in the same region, according to authorities.
Audette last reported he was living in Hawkins County on Dec. 3, 2019, according to the TBI. He allegedly failed to report that he lost his job in Morristown one week later, according to Vaughn.
It’s unclear why the defendant moved to Hawkins County, but he apparently shared a residence with another man classified as a violent sex offender against children.
Charles James Gressler, a 51-year old man who was convicted of sodomy and sexual battery of a child in 1994, gave the same address as Audette, 119 H Wright Road in Mooresburg, according to the TBI. Gressler last reported to state authorities in December, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.