Corrections: Szad could be homeless next week after release from prison
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | July 20,2013
SPRINGFIELD — Vermont Department of Corrections officials said Friday it was possible high-risk sex offender Timothy Szad would be homeless when he is released from prison next week.
“He potentially could be homeless, which is not a good thing. It’s not a best-case scenario,” said Kris Goldstein, director of the sex offender program for the state Department of Corrections.
“We are doing our normal release planning because Mr. Szad is maxing out his sentence,” she said, emphasizing that the state had no option but to release Szad next Friday. Szad is currently an inmate at the Springfield prison.
Earlier this week, Szad’s elderly parents, who live in Springfield, changed their minds and said they could no longer house their 53-year-old son, according to Springfield Police Chief Douglas Johnston.
The Department of Corrections had announced Monday that Szad would be released July 26, after serving his maximum sentence.
While Szad was sentenced in 2001 to seven to 20 years in prison for the sexual assault of a 13-year-old Rockingham boy in 2000, he was sentenced under earlier guidelines that allowed him credit for good behavior while in prison. Since he has completed his maximum sentence, there will be no supervision of Szad by the Department of Corrections once he is released.
Johnston said that as far as he knew, Szad’s parents had not received any direct threats, but they had read information online about their son’s case and public reaction to it, and read of a threat to “burn their house down.”
“The parents are very nice people. They are elderly,” the police chief said.
Goldstein said Szad was assessed as a high-risk sexual offender and considered at a high risk of re-offending because of his personal history and the fact that he didn’t know his victim and his victim was a child. Other factors also go into the assessment, she said.
She said Szad had successfully completed the sex offender program, but the evaluation of whether someone was still a high-risk offender was a separate process.
“It has nothing to do with whether someone completed their programming,” she said. “It’s strictly a risk assessment tool.”
The state has warned that Szad’s possible victims would likely be boys between the ages of 12 and 13, with blond hair and blue eyes.
She said the state has released high-risk sexual offenders before after they completed their court-imposed sentence, but some refused to do sex offender treatment.
“That is not the case with Mr. Szad,” she said.
Goldstein said the Department of Corrections had been in touch with Szad’s victim and his family, but citing confidentiality, she declined to say anything about their reaction or even their location.
And Goldstein said that contrary to public belief, Szad, while born in Connecticut, had lived in Springfield a good part of his adult life before the 2000 crime in Rockingham.
Springfield Town Manager Robert Forguites noted Springfield had a similar case a number of years ago when a sex offender was released back to Springfield, prompting a strong public reaction.
In the case of Danny Emerson, he said, Emerson did not complete sex offender treatment. He initially lived with relatives, and then due to public opposition, left the area under the auspices of a church and went south.
Emerson later sexually assaulted another woman, this time in Alabama, and Forguites said that as far as he knew, Emerson was still in jail in Alabama.
“People are uneasy about it, and this was the same thing with Danny Emerson,” he said.
“Nobody is happy about it, but my concern is ‘where will he go and what happens if he doesn’t have a place to go?’” Forguites said.