A repeat sex-offender who ran away to Mexico with his girlfriend and three children has been captured.
Lester B. Joy, 40, formerly of Waterbury, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Bridgeport, on Tuesday, Nov. 3, to failing to register as a sex offender, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Connecticut.
Federal law requires convicted level two and three sex offenders to register their home, work, and other pertinent addresses in a public database - the Sex Offender Registry. Joy, who has been convicted of sexually abusing children, failed to register his addresses multiple times as he moved around Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
According to the registry, Joy is also known as Lester Jox, Lester Bonner Joy, Lester Bunner Joy, Snowflake Joy, and Lester Wilfong.
The failure to register charge, however, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Joy’s criminal history and how he ended up in Mexico.
Joy went on the run on Feb. 17, 2019, when he orchestrated an escape with his girlfriend. On that day Joy’s girlfriend - who did not have physical custody of her three minor children - was having a Department of Children and Families-supervised visit with the children in a Waterbury restaurant. The mother was given permission to take her children to the restroom, but instead of doing this, she took her kids out the back door of the restaurant and into a waiting vehicle, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Less than a month later, Joy, the girlfriend (whom the Attorney’s Office did not name), and the children were all located by Mexican authorities in Mazatlan, Mexico. Joy and the mother were arrested, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
It’s not clear from the details provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office what made Joy flee the country.
When he absconded, Joy was on supervised release for a previous conviction but did not appear to be facing any additional charges or prison time.
Joy’s history shows, however, that he has often struggled to comply with the conditions of his release.
- In 2002, Joy was convicted in New Jersey on charges of sexual assault in the second degree, endangering the welfare of a child in the third degree, and theft in the third egress, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. For this, Joy was sentenced to three years imprisonment, a lifetime of community supervision, and lifetime registration as a sex offender.
- Shortly after getting out of prison, in 2006, Joy was convicted in New York, on three counts of rape in the third degree, two counts of criminal sexual acts in the third degree, and two counts of disseminating indecent material to a minor, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He was sentenced to 42 to 84 months in prison and a lifetime of probation.
- Getting convicted on new sex abuse charges was a violation of Joy’s lifetime term of community supervision and he did some time for that, too. He was released from a New Jersey jail in 2013. After his release, Joy failed to register as a sex offender in New York or New Jersey and moved to Connecticut.
- In 2015, Joy pleaded guilty in Connecticut court for failure to register as a sex offender, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He was sentenced to more than two years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
- Upon his release from prison in 2017, Joy again failed to register anywhere as a sex offender. He also failed to comply with his treatment requirements, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. That same year, 2017, Joy was sentenced to another 7 months in prison.
Joy was released from federal custody in August 2017 and stayed under the radar until he absconded to Mexico in 2019.
Following his capture, Joy pleaded guilty on Oct. 29, 2020, in Waterbury Superior Court to three counts of risk of injury and was sentenced to three years of incarceration followed by seven years of special parole, the U .S. Attorney’s Office said.
Among the agencies involved in investigating, arresting, and prosecuting Joy are the U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, FBI, Waterbury Police, and Mexican law enforcement.
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