SPRINGFIELD — Officials from the state Department of Corrections, as well as members of the Springfield Police Department, will go door to door this week in the Springfield neighborhood where convicted sex offender Timothy Szad will be living once he is discharged from prison next week.
Szad, 53, of Springfield, has been assessed as a high risk to reoffend, said Joseph Sampsell, head of the Office of Probation and Parole in Springfield. Sampsell met with the Springfield Select Board on Monday night to explain Szad’s release.
Szad was sentenced in 2001 to seven to 20 years in jail for the May 2000 sexual assault of a 13-year-old boy, who has autism, according to court records and news reports at the time.
Szad handcuffed and assaulted the boy on the banks of the Williams River in Rockingham where the boy had been fishing. As part of the plea agreement the charge of kidnapping was dropped to spare the boy from a trial.
Szad was working at Newsbank in Chester at the time, and investigators were able to track down the boy’s assailant because Szad had used CDs from Newsbank for target practice on the banks of the river, and an alert Parker Hill neighbor recognized Szad’s truck.
According to testimony during Szad’s sentencing hearing, the boy’s mother said he had been severely traumatized by the assault and was no longer able to live at home, but had to live in a “therapeutic” setting.
The family supported the plea agreement to avoid having to have the boy testify.
Sampsell said Szad was being released and would not be under any supervision by the Department of Corrections because he had served his maximum sentence. He said he would be living with a family member in Springfield, which is where Szad was living at the time of the assault.
Sampsell said that while Szad was sentenced to seven to 20 years for the aggravated sexual assault, he was given credit for good behavior while in prison under old regulations and thus didn’t serve his full sentence of 20 years.
Sampsell said Szad was designated as a high risk to reoffend based upon scoring in the high range on a sex offender risk assessment test.
He said he was “compliant” with the court-ordered sex offender treatment program, which was part of his 2001 sentence.
According to court records at the time, once Szad knew police were searching for him, he left the state and police were able to arrest him in Idaho after he registered his truck there. Szad was brought back to Vermont to face the charges.
Springfield Police Chief Douglas Johnston, who was not at Monday night’s meeting but has been briefed on the case, said he was aware of where Szad was going to live but he declined to confirm the address.
“He’s not at a halfway house,” the police chief said.
The police chief said he knew people in the community were upset with the release of Szad into the community.
He said the Springfield Police Department, along with corrections officials, will be going door to door to “knock and talk” to Szad’s potential neighbors.
“We want to keep them informed about what’s going on,” he said.
Szad will be one of more than two dozen registered sex offenders who live in Springfield, according to the Department of Corrections website. Johnston said the other sex offenders in general have not posed a problem for law enforcement.
“Knock on wood,” said the chief, noting that it also depended on whether the offenders were “compliant” with state register requirements.
Johnston said that Szad, once released, will continue sex offender treatment. But he said because Szad had served his sentence, if he stopped treatment, there was nothing the state could do to force him to resume it.
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