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Survivor speaks out about release of notorious Vermont sex offender

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 5:54 PM EDT
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ESSEX, Vt. (WCAX) - The survivor of a violent sexual assault that happened in Burlington more than two decades ago is speaking out about the release of her attacker from prison.

Craig Yandow is set to start living freely in Essex Town next Wednesday.

Kami Calevro, who asked that we do use her name, survived the vicious attack by Yandow. She says she’s been preparing for his release for years while recovering from the horrific trauma she endured in 1996.

Now, she says she won’t hide from an event that shaped her life and she wants to send a message to the community.

In a written statement sent to me, Calevro wrote: “Let us assure our girls and women that there is no shame in rape, let them know that there is a full life after violent crime, and let us remind everyone that no matter the outcome we all must come together for the greater good of society.”

Click here to read her full statement.

Calevro goes on to say she is disappointed that Yandow spent 24 years in prison without completing a voluntary rehabilitative program.

In fact, part of the reason why Yandow will be designated as a high-risk sex offender on the state registry is because he refused treatment and chose to max out his sentence, instead.

The Department of Corrections tells me that’s rare since a majority of inmates participate to reduce their sentence.

“For many individuals, particularly sex offenders have a fairly high stigma and might feel fairly ashamed and/or challenged in terms of actually talking about the behavior and the risk factor that are correlated with that behavior,” said Kim Bushey, the program services director for the Vermont Department of Corrections.

Bushey tells me sex offenders have a low rate of recidivism as it is but a treatment program lowers the likelihood of a reoffense significantly. She says participants learn critical skills, like emotion regulation, effective communication and problem-solving. They also learn strategies for managing intense emotions and urges.

I wanted to know how the state sex offender registry helps inform residents who is living among them and how dangerous they are. I found out only a fraction of Vermont’s total convicted sex offenders are required to register with the state.

More than 2,000 names are on that list but the public can only look up about 1,200 of them. That’s because the Vermont Judiciary can decide to keep an individual’s information private.

Of the 1,200 searchable offenders, I found out that 110 are designated high-risk, like Craig Yandow. That means they’re more likely to commit another sexual assault.

On the other hand, a total of 162 offenders are listed as noncompliant and there are a variety of reasons why they could be. For example, the offender may not live at the address on file, maybe they’ve failed to send the Department of Public Safety updated photos, or perhaps they’ve refused to participate in a treatment program.

Some high-risk offenders are also designated as noncompliant, so there’s some overlap.

Most of the state’s registered sex offenders live in Chittenden, Rutland and Franklin counties.

Local law enforcement on Friday evening will answer the public’s questions and concerns about Yandow’s release.

At 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, the Essex Police Department, Essex Community Justice Center and Burlington Probation and Parole are hosting a public meeting to talk about Yandow’s release next week.

Meeting Information:

Friday, Oct. 8, 6-7 p.m.

Via Microsoft Teams

https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_NjRhZWRhNDMtY2IwNi00MDFlLWEyN2QtMTJjNTRiMjIzMjI3%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22ecf8d528-f923-4497-9342-6544108d0637%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22bb04a4b4-f6df-4f8f-8096-a0f9dd013bca%22%7d

Or call in (audio only)

+1 802-377-3784,,499960612# United States, Middlebury

Phone Conference ID: 499 960 612#

Those with questions about access to this meeting before it starts, can email epd.info@essex.org or call 802-878-1335.

Essex police say they will record the meeting for anyone who misses it and post the link on their website afterward.

Related Story:

Notorious sex offender set to be released from Vermont prison

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