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High-risk sex offender heading out of Vermont - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

High-risk sex offender heading out of Vermont

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Timothy Szad Timothy Szad

"There will be this snarling pit bull posse that's around him as soon as he walks out the door now," said Tom Powell, a forensic psychologist.

Powell says the cards are stacked against Timothy Szad, 53, after a state-mandated public warning went out about his release. The high-risk sex offender will leave prison Friday after serving more than a decade behind bars for sexually assaulting a teenage boy. He will not be supervised by Corrections.

"Every 12- or 13-year-old boy in Springfield now is going to be sheltered and kept off the streets until something happens to Mr. Szad," Powell said.

Ten days ago, the Vt. Department of Corrections notified the public Szad was going to live in Springfield and is likely to reoffend, despite receiving treatment in prison. Officials said his potential victims would be blonde, blue-eyed teenage boys he didn't know.

Powell has not evaluated Szad, but has worked extensively with incarcerated sex offenders in the past. He says

contrary to public belief, only 10 percent to 15 percent of sexual predators on average reoffend. He believes the warning overstates how dangerous Szad is and destroys his support system on the outside.

"If they feel alienated and disgraced and dismissed and marginalized then they've got nothing really to restrain them from their own bad instincts," Powell said.

Originally Szad had lined up housing with Springfield family members, but after receiving threats they backed out of the deal. Corrections officials now say Szad plans to leave the state immediately following his release, but they would not say where he's going.

"If he can't get a job, if he can't have a safe place to live, if he can't have a social support system, where's he going to go?" Powell said. "He's got nowhere to go; he's been basically chased out of town... and people in that condition have less reason to do well and more reason to follow their bad desires and bad instincts... and not be able to hold onto the treatment gains they gotten nearly as well."

Powell says if Szad defies the odds and reoffends in Vermont, his case is likely to reopen political debate about civil confinement, where offenders can be held past their sentence if deemed dangerous.

Related Stories:

Sex offender release renews calls for Vt. civil confinement law

Community placement for Vt. sex offender on hold

Springfield on alert after state warns of sex offender release

Vt. Corrections warns of sex offender release

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