A registered sex offender wore a Cookie Monster costume as he handed out fliers to children at the Mississippi Valley Fair over the weekend, police said.
James Lester Rogers, 25, of 611 Perry St., Apt. 1, Davenport, was in the Scott County Jail on Monday on an aggravated misdemeanor charge.
Police said that on Saturday he wore a full Cookie Monster costume and handed out fliers for a company called Q.C. Characters. If children wanted their pictures taken with "Cookie Monster," Rogers stood for the photographs.
He was arrested about 4:45 p.m. after he approached a law enforcement officer and said, "Hello." The officer was Rich Aleksiejczyk, a member of the Scott County Sex Offender Task Force.
Aleksiejczyk, who also works in the GPS unit for the 7th Judicial District, recognized Rogers' voice behind the costume but asked him who he was anyway.
Rogers then took off the head of the costume and identified himself to the officer.
At that point, Scott County Sheriff's Detective Scott
Bawden, who keeps track of the county's sex offenders, was called to the fairgrounds.
Bawden interviewed Rogers, still dressed as the popular Sesame Street character, in the office of Mississippi Valley Fair director Bob Fox.
"There he was, dressed like Cookie Monster," Bawden said. "Sounds weird."
After the interview, Bawden arrested Rogers and took him to the Scott County Jail.
Because of a past conviction, Rogers is allowed to attend the fair but cannot work or volunteer on the fairgrounds in any capacity.
"He's not allowed to sell corn dogs, let alone be in a Cookie Monster outfit," Bawden said.
Rogers was convicted in Linn County for lascivious acts with a minor in 2005. His victim was a 7-year-old girl, records state.
Bawden said Rogers was seen by law enforcement taking pictures with children at the fair.
If he's found guilty on the charge of sex offender prohibition of certain employment, he could face a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
Both the fair management and police perform background checks on all employees who work carnival rides, and companies that rent or buy booths at the fair are expected to submit a list of employees, Bawden said.
"There's a lot of security, especially to ensure there are no sex offenders," Bawden said, adding that Fox hires plenty of off-duty officers to provide adequate security for the six days.
Q.C. Characters is a private business not associated with the fair and did not submit a list of employees for background checks, Bawden said.
Fox said Rogers' arrest wasn't the fault of Q.C. Characters.
"The company hired him to stand there and wave," Fox said. "He was stupid enough to introduce himself to an officer."
Bawden said officers may never have known who was under the Cookie Monster costume had Rogers not approached the officer.
"I don't know what motivated him to do that," he said.