Sex offender rearrested after failing to report

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A 41-year-old man who pleaded guilty in January to sexual abuse involving an underage victim is now being held in the Shelby County Jail without bond after he allegedly failed to follow his sex offender reporting requirements.

Vega

Vega

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office arrested Rick John Vega, who previously listed an address in Pelham, on May 27 and charged him with one count of failure to follow sex offender reporting guidelines and one count of probation violation.

Vega pleaded guilty to a first-degree sexual abuse charge during a Jan. 27 hearing in front of Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Dan Reeves.

Reeves originally sentenced Vega to 10 years in prison, but split the sentence to two years in prison followed by five years of supervised probation. He received jail credit of two years for time served in the Shelby County Jail since his 2013 arrest, and began serving his probation period after the sentencing.

The SCSO arrested Vega on March 11, 2013, and charged him with one count of sexual abuse of a child younger than 12. Through a plea agreement, Vega’s charge was lessened to first-degree sexual abuse.

According to his indictment, Vega subjected an underage victim to sexual contact between May 20, 2012 and Sept. 28, 2012.

As part of his probation, Vega was required to register as a sex offender and follow sex offender reporting guidelines. In March, Vega’s probation officer requested a warrant be issued for Vega’s arrest after Vega allegedly failed to follow sex offender reporting guidelines.

According to the request, Vega reported to the SCSO to register as a sex offender on Feb. 2.

“Vega wanted to register as homeless, and was advised that he would have to report back to the Sheriff’s Office every seven days,” read the probation officer’s request.

Vega allegedly failed to report to the SCSO as required, and allegedly failed to notify his probation officer of any address changes, according to the request.

On March 10, Reeves ordered Vega be rearrested. If he is found guilty of violating his probation, his original 10-year sentence could be reinstated.

Violation of sex offender registration requirements is a Class C felony. If convicted on the charge, Vega could face up to 10 additional years in prison.