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Bristol police caught off guard as notorious sex offender moves - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Bristol police caught off guard as notorious sex offender moves in

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Mark Hulett Mark Hulett
BRISTOL, Vt. -

He's been called one of Vermont's most notorious sex offenders.  

Now, five years after the child rapist's release from prison, Mark Hulett is living in Bristol.

His case made national headlines after a judge originally sent him to prison for just 60 days for repeatedly raping a little girl.

"I'm scared for my children. I'm scared for the neighborhood's children," said Beth Derringer.

Derringer says her Bristol neighborhood is crawling with kids including her home daycare on Devino Lane. She's livid that a convicted child rapist would be allowed to move into an apartment building across the way on Mountain Street. 

"He's too close. He's way too close to the school. He's way too close to the daycare," said Derringer.

She says what's worse is that no one even told her Hulett was there. 

The 45-year-old served five years behind bars for repeatedly raping a little girl in Williston. He was released -on probation and added to the sex offender registry in 2011. He had been living in Waltham.

"I've not been told this guy is in town. I was not told if he's dangerous or not. So I don't know," said Chief Kevin Gibbs, Bristol Police Department. 

Gibbs says he's frustrated by the system. According to the sex offender registry there are nine sex offenders living in town. He only knew of 6.

"I can't help protect people in my community if I don't know these people are here," said Gibbs.

According to the registry, Hulett is compliant and labeled not high risk. But that's little consolation to a chief who says he was left in the dark.

During our interview, the chief got a call from Hulett's probation officer who filled in some of the blanks.

"How long has he been here? So, he's been there since October 1st? We would have done two compliance checks on him by now," said Gibbs.

Neighbors like Derringer thought Hulett moved to town less than a month ago.

Reporter Jenifer Costa: Would it surprise you to learn that he's been here since October 1st?

Derringer: Yeah, yeah. That makes me cringe. 

"I have nothing to hide. I just want to live my life," said Hulett. 

Costa: What would you say to your neighbors who are worried? 

Hulett: They have nothing to worry about. I've learned my lesson. I did what I did. I'm not happy about what I did, but people need a second chance.

Hulett says his apartment is more than the required 1,000 feet from a school and his probation officer approved his housing.
   
But the director of the state sex offender registry tells a different story. Jeffery Wallin says Hulett never reported his move to the registry in October. Staff only found out in January from Hulett's probation officer. Wallin says the registry is only updated quarterly and Hulett's move didn't make it to Bristol Police Department before its last compliance check.

"There are some real problems as I see it with notification to law enforcement in the community about sex offenders," said Gibbs.

According to state officials there are no restrictions where sex offenders can live as long as they are no longer under the corrections supervision meaning police cannot keep those offenders from living near kids.
   
Hulett is still on probation.

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