On Monday, November 9, an arrest warrant was issued for 40-year-old Jeffrey Shawn Hawkins, of Plainfield Township. Hawkins was arrested and lodged at the Kent County Correctional Facility. He was charged with two counts of Accosting Children for Immoral Purposes—each count is a four-year felony; two counts of Using Computers to Commit a Crime – each count is a seven-year felony. Hawkins was also charged as a Habitual Offender/Second Offense Notice.
The Kent County Sheriff Department began investigating a complaint of Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes. The solicitation occurred online while the individuals conversed via Facebook. Investigators do not believe the suspect ever had any physical contact with these 15-year-old children.
The suspect is a 40-year-old male that currently lives in Plainfield Township and he is required by law to register as a Sex Offender. He is a paid on-call firefighter for Plainfield Township as well as a Plainfield Township employee. He has been with the fire department since 1993.
As part of his firefighter duties, he did attend the Fall Festival at the East Oakview Elementary School on October 23, 2009 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with other Plainfield firefighters. School officials have been notified of the investigation. At this time he has been suspended from the fire department.
The Sheriff Department had utilized a search warrant at the suspect’s residence to seize his computer. In addition, Plainfield Township and the Plainfield Township Fire Department have been cooperative with the investigation. They have turned over computers to the Sheriff Department to ensure no illegal activities occurred while using their property.
Bob Homan, Plainfield Township Manager, said Hawkins has been suspended until further notice without pay. “At this time I believe it is best to let the legal process take place,” he commented Monday. He said Hawkins has been a paid-on-call firefighter for the township since 1993. He was appointed by then clerk Sue Morrow as Assistant Clerk in 2001.
Hawkins was convicted of criminal sexual conduct fourth degree with a victim between the ages of 13 to 16 on June 3, 1997 in 17th Circuit Court.
According to Homan, the township currently has no policy regarding individuals on the Sex Offender Registry in regards to employment with the township.