SPRINGFIELD — Threats against the family of convicted sex offender Timothy Szad have made relatives change their minds and they will no longer allow him to move into their Springfield home next week, Corrections Commissioner Andrew Pallito said Thursday.
Pallito said Szad’s relative — who had originally agreed to take in Szad next Friday, July 26, when Szad is due to be released — had received death threats, although Pallito later said it was threats against his residence.
Pallito, who declined to identify Szad’s relative, said some of the threats had come in from outside the country and had unnerved Szad’s relatives.
Szad had been evaluated by the Department of Corrections, which warned Springfield residents Monday that he was at high risk to reoffend. His likely victim, the department said, would be a 12- to 13-year-old boy with blue eyes and blond hair.
The news set off a virtual firestorm on local blogs and the Springfield Police Department’s popular Facebook page. His release went viral, Pallito said, resulting in the threats from outside Vermont and the United States.
Pallito said he didn’t know the extent of information that Szad’s relatives turned over to the Springfield Police about the threats they did receive, and Springfield Police Chief Douglas Johnston couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday evening.
Springfield police and corrections officials were due to go door-to-door Thursday in the neighborhood where Szad was being released.
The Department of Corrections had announced Monday that Szad, who was convicted in 2001 of the 2000 sexual assault of a 13-year-old Rockingham boy in Rockingham, had served his sentence and was going to be released to live in Springfield, where he had lived at the time of that attack. The boy suffered from a form of autism, police said, making communication with police initially difficult.
Windham County prosecutors entered into a plea agreement with Szad to spare the victim the trauma of a trial, with the support of his parents.
Pallito said that regardless of the change in where Szad will be released, “he has to walk out of prison next Friday. We’ve got eight days to figure out where he’s going to go. This is a worst-case scenario.”
Pallito said that any transitional housing for former inmates in the Springfield area will not take sex offenders like Szad.
He said Szad had been counting on living with his relative in Springfield for the past six months, and as a result there was no active alternative.
“He has to walk out next Friday,” he said. “He has nowhere to go.”
Szad is being held at the state prison in Springfield.
Szad must register as a sex offender within 24 hours of wherever he settles, Pallito said, and must register again every time he moves. He said the Department of Corrections was trying to find him someplace to live, because Szad had “maxed out” his sentence and would not be under any direct supervision.
“We want to keep him from reoffending and keep him safe,” the corrections chief said.
Szad, who worked at a Chester business and lived on Union Street in Springfield in 2000, had kidnapped the boy while he was fishing in the Williams River on Parker Hill Road, handcuffed him and repeatedly sexually assaulted him. The kidnapping charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
Szad fled to Idaho once he knew Vermont State Police were looking for him, and he was brought back in late 2000 and arraigned. He was sentenced to seven to 20 years in January 2001 but, when given credit under 2001 rules for good behavior, is slated to be released after serving 12½ years.MORE IN Vermont News
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