Police brief community on sexual predator

By Staff
Posted 12/29/09

For a sex offender or sexually violent predator to live in a community, a number of requirements must be fulfilled, both on their part, on the community’s and on the part of the law …

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Police brief community on sexual predator


For a sex offender or sexually violent predator to live in a community, a number of requirements must be fulfilled, both on their part, on the community’s and on the part of the law enforcement.

    Monday, per requirement, the Dacono Police Department held a public meeting at Frederick High School to inform residents in the Carbon Valley about a “sexually violent predator” living in Dacono’s city limits.

    The sexually violent predator moving to Dacono was convicted in 1982 and 1988 for third degree sexual assault. However, he was labeled as a sexually violent predator after his last conviction in 2007 for attempted sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.

    The community notification panel for the meeting consisted of Matthew Skaggs, Dacono chief of police, Terie Rinne, detective with the Weld County sheriff’s office; Michael Rourke, assistant district attorney with the 19th judicial district; Charles Unfug, Weld County Court judge; Kim Ruybal, sex offender treatment provider; Suzi Cvancara, Weld County Victim Services advocate; and Anthony Hodes, Colorado Department of Public Safety.

    For 90 minutes, the over-filled auditorium listened to information regarding sexual assault, sex offenders and the specific sexually violent predator moving to Dacono. They received education pamphlets and hand-outs, most of which contained information and contact numbers for places that can help victims, parents, children, and citizens.

    According to Skaggs, local law enforcement does not have the legal authority to dictate where a sex offender may live and unless court restrictions exist, sex offenders are free to live wherever they choose.

    However, sex offenders are required by law to notify law enforcement of their residence, and local law enforcement is required to share that information with the community.

    A sexually violent predator must be 18 years or older as of the date the offense was committed, or, less than 18 years old at the date of the offense, but tried as an adult. The crimes committed must have been a sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact (felony), sexual assault on a child, sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.

    The crime must have been committed on or after July 1, 1997 and the conviction of such a crime must have occurred on or after July 1, 1991. 

According to Skaggs, a sexually violent predator is required to re-register quarterly.

    “Dacono does sex offender compliance checks to verify that information,” said Skaggs. “We do that twice a year on top of the annual registration requirements because we felt that was appropriate.”

    Continuing the informational meeting, Ruybal, provided some statistics and touched on myths about sexual assaults including the myths that sexual assault only happens to women, or sex offenders are typically strangers.

According to Ruybal, as of Monday, there are 10,912 registered sex offenders in Colorado. She also noted that less than 16 percent of sexual assaults are ever reported.

    Ruybal asked what people can do if someone comes to them after being sexually assaulted, “The best thing we can do is to believe them [and] report, report, report,” she said.

    Although children were not allowed at this meeting, Rinne, offered advice on how parents can talk to their kids and warn them about a sexually violent predator.

    She suggested avoiding scary details and using appropriate, honest language. “Teach them not to harass or visit the offender’s home or yard,” said Rinne, and let them know who they can tell and how they can tell them if someone acts inappropriately towards them. To help kids better understand, Rinne suggested role playing with them.

    At the end of the presentation, the panel collected questions from the audience, who were given notecards at the beginning to write their comments on.

    Based on the questions asked, the community’s concerns included whether there are laws that prohibit the person from going to places where children are – for example, the McDonalds that sits right next to a school bus stop.

People also wanted to know when community watch becomes stalking, and what to do if someone were to observe this man acting suspiciously.

    “The police are a tool for you guys,” said Skaggs. “The community is the eyes and ears for the police department, and without you, we can only accomplish so much.”

    The panel warned audience members that vigilantism or the use of this information to harass, threaten or intimidate the person will cause them to be subject to criminal prosecution.

    This particular requirement for sexual offender notification is tied to Megan’s law, named after New Jersey seven-year-old Megan Kanka who was raped and murdered by a child molester who lived across the street from the Kanka family. Megan’s law authorizes law enforcement to release information about registered sex offenders to the public.

    To view Weld County’s registered sex offenders, visit http://maps.co.weld.co.us/. According to the site, the information on this registry includes persons convicted of certain acts of “unlawful sexual behavior” since July 1, 1991, and those who are in compliance with sex offender registration laws.

    The site says, “Weld County Deputies verify the addresses of registered sex offenders,” however it also warns that offenders may have moved or have yet to notify or failed to notify law enforcements of their residence.

    According to the Weld County sex offenders map, Dacono is home to around 18 registered sex offenders.




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