, Muskogee, OK

February 4, 2013

Competency hearing set for sex offender

He's charged with violating registry law

By Josh Newton

— TAHLEQUAH — A judge will consider this week whether there is reason to believe competency issues exist with a convicted sex offender accused of failing to follow his registration rules.

Ronald Branson Jr., 30, was arrested late last year and charged with failure to register under the sex offenders registration act. He later pleaded not guilty.

An application has been filed for a determination of Branson’s competency, court records show. A hearing is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday to determine whether there are sufficient facts to raise doubt about his competency.

Branson allegedly failed to register, as required by law, in the Eufaula area, and parole authorities there notified Cherokee County Sheriff’s Investigator James Brown.

Investigators in Cherokee County learned that Branson — who was arrested in 2007 for making lewd or indecent proposals to a child younger than 16 — was living with his parents in a motor home, which would be parked in different areas around Tahlequah.

Authorities found the motor home last November and arrested Branson, who allegedly admitted that he lived in Tahlequah for about a month without notifying local authorities of his registration requirements.

Josh Newton writes for the Tahlequah Daily Press.