“I share in the concerns and opinions of those in the audience because this is something that touches the fabric of their life. I am legitimately concerned because I don’t want innocent parties damaging their lives. We’re in the field of law enforcement and we can’t prevent everything, but I want people to call us, as silly or as generic as that sounds.”
— Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz during Wednesday night’s public meeting to discuss sexually violent predator Dale Matthew Waite
Wednesday night’s presentation by the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office on a sexually violent predator living in Moffat County will be available on the sheriff’s office website, www.moffatcountys.... For more information, call the sheriff’s office at 824-4495.
More than 230 residents attended a public meeting Wednesday night at The Center of Craig to discuss a paroled sex offender who has moved to Moffat County.
Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz led the meeting, which he said was designed to inform the public and address concerns.
“I am extremely pleased with the turnout,” Jantz said. “I was concerned we were not going to have a lot of community involvement and I know that I can’t alleviate all of the fears that people have, but every step starts with a first one and that is what we were trying to do here tonight.”
Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta, Moffat County chief deputy district attorney Jon Pfeifer, 14th Judicial District parole office representatives and several local law enforcement officers also attended Wednesday night.
The offender at the center of the meeting, which was required by state law, was Dale Matthew Waite, 49.
Waite was released Nov. 30 from the Colorado Department of Corrections. He was convicted of sexual assault in February 2009 in Moffat County.
Waite was convicted of similar crimes dating back to the 1980s in California. He served 25 years of a 50-year sentence in that state.
His original parole was transferred from California to Moffat County in 2008.
Because sexual assault laws were not as stringent when Waite was first arrested in California, Moffat County law enforcement officials were not allowed to host a public meeting when he first moved here.
In addition, Waite was also not designated as a sexually violent predator when his parole was transferred to Moffat County three years ago.
As a result, terms of his parole were less restrictive. Waite re-offended within a year.
Jantz said the legal system has changed drastically since Waite’s first conviction in the 1980s and the sexually violent predator designation requires enhanced supervision.
Waite is on parole until Nov. 30, 2013. During the next two years, he is not allowed to:
• Consume alcohol or take illicit drugs.
• Drive without permission from his parole officer.
• Have any contact with children.
• Have any contact with his victim.
• May not come within a designated distance of any park, school or other place where children are present.
In addition, Waite is required to check-in with the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office on a quarterly basis to register as a sexually violent predator and have a mug shot taken.
Waite’s photo will be updated on the sheriff’s office website at www.moffatcountysheriff.com.
For the duration of Waite’s parole, he must also participate in drug and alcohol treatment programs, and undergo mental health evaluations and sex offender treatment.
Waite is also subject to 24-hour supervision through GPS.
Jantz and other law enforcement officials fielded questions from the public during the two-hour meeting.
“I share in the concerns and opinions of those in the audience because this is something that touches the fabric of their life,” Jantz said. “I am legitimately concerned because I don’t want innocent parties damaging their lives.
“We’re in the field of law enforcement and we can’t prevent everything, but I want people to call us, as silly or as generic as that sounds.”
Rather than allow fear to lead to threats, harassment, intimidation or vigilantism, which could force Waite “underground,” Jantz said he’s hoping the community will come together.
“The good thing about being a sheriff in a rural setting is that we do have that community involvement,” Jantz said. “We have community watch programs and we care about our neighbors.”
Craig resident Judi Hunt attended Wednesday night’s meeting. She said she lives not far from Waite’s home.
“I’m afraid and my concerns were not addressed during the meeting,” Hunt said. “I’m single and he (Waite) could walk to my house in five minutes. Since he moved here, I have moved my guard dog into the house.”
Susan Chenoweth said she also lives near Waite.
“I’m actually not as afraid as I was before tonight’s meeting,” Chenoweth said. “I think the sheriff’s (office) did a good job.”
Although the meeting was well attended, Jantz said information is available to anyone who could not be there.
“For those who couldn’t make the meeting, I want them to know that they can feel comfortable to call me or come see me,” the sheriff said. “I can’t get rid of all of their fears, but I’ll do my best to inform and not shirk that responsibility.”
Jantz said Wednesday’s presentation will also be available online at www.moffatcountysheriff.com. For additional information, call the sheriff’s office at 824-4495.