Friday August 16, 2013

HYDE PARK (AP) -- Residents in a Vermont community of Hyde Park where a sex offender has relocated have been told they need to work together to keep their children safe.

Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux told about 250 people at a meeting Wednesday that Timothy Szad, 53, is taking medical shots to suppress his sexual urges, but that the community must be alert.

Szad was released from the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield on July 26 after serving his maximum sentence -- with time off for good behavior -- following his conviction in a 2001 sexual assault on a 13-year-old boy. Authorities warned that the ex-con could target young blond-haired boys.

He’s been taken in by a resident who is working with The Church at Prison ministry, whose pastor has said Szad does not want to reoffend and has been cooperating with law enforcement and reporting his whereabouts daily by phone to the Vermont Sex Offender Registry.

Several residents at the meeting raised concerns about schoolchildren waiting for buses or school athletic teams using trails near where Szad is living.

Marcoux said he’s meeting with school officials to figure out what restrictions can be placed on Szad.

State Sen. Richard Westman, R-Lamoille, said he is willing to work with the community on a bill for stricter laws for sex offenders, but also said some constitutional guarantees need to be taken up.

Szad was sentenced to seven to 20 years in prison for aggravated assault in 2001. Police say he said he grabbed the 13-year-old disabled boy, who was fishing on the Williams River in the southern Vermont town of Rockingham, carried him across the Williams River, handcuffed him and sexually assaulted him twice.

Officials said the initial plan for Szad’s release was to have him live with his elderly parents in Springfield, but that plan fell apart after a public outcry. He then planned to move to California but Szad said police in the community told him he wasn’t wanted there so he went to Oregon where he was told the same thing. He returned to Vermont by bus.