Convicted offender subject of Moffat County public meeting

Moffat County sheriff: Responsibility is to inform public ‘in a timely manner’

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Dale Matthew Waite

Community meeting regarding sexually violent predator:

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: The Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave.

— The hosting agency is the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, call 824-4495.

The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office will host a community meeting tonight in Craig to provide the public with information concerning a “sexually violent predator” in the community.

The offender is Dale Matthew Waite, who was paroled Nov. 30 by the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Waite, 49, was convicted in 2009 of sexual assault.

He was also convicted of similar crimes in California dating back to the 1980s.

Since his release, he has registered as a sexual offender in Moffat County, where he now resides, outside Craig city limits.

Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz said his office worked to establish the meeting quickly to address the situation, as required by law.

“I’ve been contacted quite a bit,” Jantz said. “It’s one of those highly-charged emotional things. I’ve already had people ask me, ‘Why did you let him here?’ Well, I have no choice. He has a right to establish a residence.

“My responsibility is to the public of Moffat County to get (information) out in a timely manner.”

The Jacob Wetterling Act of 1994 requires sexual offenders to notify law enforcement of their residence in a community.

“We have other sex offenders in the community, but they’re not classified as an SVP,” he said. “The city had one before, but he went to (Correctional Alternative Placement Services) and wasn’t released to the community.

“This SVP has established a residence in Moffat County, which makes it my responsibility.”

Jantz said the meeting will follow “structured” guidelines from the state.

“We’re putting together a PowerPoint presentation and (will) get the public all the information it’s entitled to, which is pretty much everything,” he said. “What we’re asking for is to inform and get the public’s help in knowing where this guy is all the time, but not create a panic or a fear base.”

Jantz added that part of the purpose of the meeting is to alleviate an “inflamed” sensation among community members.

“The people who put together the criteria know how emotionally charged these meetings can be, so we want to keep that to a minimum,” he said. “We’ll give out 3-by-5 cards and people can write down their questions, so we won’t keep going over the same stuff.

“This is the forum for them to ask pertinent questions if there’s something they can’t write down or if something else comes up. I want to make sure we address all concerns.”

When issuing the community bulletin about the meeting, the sheriff’s office included a news release discouraging vigilantism.

“People are scared, they’re nervous, they want information, and that’s why I want to present this face-to-face,” Jantz said. “But, we don’t want the perspective of the community driving this guy underground so that nobody knows where he’s at.”

Besides reviewing details that led to the meeting, the sheriff will also discuss today how people can approach someone who may have been a victim of sexual assault.

“We’ll go over things like, ‘What do they display?’ or ‘What are some of the telltale signs?’” he said.

“I really want to stress that if the community has any concerns or questions to please attend the meeting.”

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