Sex offender ‘highly likely’ to re-offend on his way out
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | July 16,2013
The Vermont Department of Corrections warned the public Monday that a high-risk sex offender is about to be released to an undisclosed address in Springfield.
Timothy J. Szad, 53, is scheduled to get out of the Springfield prison on July 26. Szad was sentenced in 2001 on a charge of aggravated sexual assault for handcuffing and assaulting a 13-year-old autistic boy. While aggravated sexual assault carries a maximum of life in prison, Szad received the seven- to 20-year sentence as part of a deal that avoided a trial in which the victim would have had to testify.
Lt. Mark Fountain of the Springfield Police Department said Monday his agency planned a yet-unscheduled public meeting in conjunction with the state to spread awareness, but had no specific plan to track Szad.
“It’s still in the early stages,” Fountain said. “The chief will be having further discussions with the Department of Corrections.”
Corrections officials said that while Szad will be subject to Vermont’s sex offender registration laws, he has maxed out his sentence and will not be under state supervision once he is released.
Dale Crook, director of field services for the Department of Corrections, said Szad was subject to the now-defunct “good time” rules regarding his sentence, hence the release well before the 20-year maximum.
“Now, there’s no credit,” Crook said. “In previous iterations, when he was convicted, there were laws that would’ve impacted his sentence. If he’s doing what he’s supposed to do, he earns credit toward his sentence.”
While Szad complied with the sex offender treatment program in prison, the state said a sex offender risk assessment tool still indicated he was at a high risk to re-offend. Crook said the tool looks at factors like whether the victim was a stranger or someone the offender knew, the offender’s age and the victim’s gender.
“It talks about, was violence used, was force used, any type of sadistic behavior,” Crook said. “A big one is prior sex offences.”
During his November 2000 plea hearing, Szad admitted that he met the 13-year-old boy on the banks of the Williams River in Rockingham that May. Szad had been shooting bottles with a .22-caliber rifle and the boy was there to fish.
After offering the boy marijuana, Szad admitted to grabbing him, dragging him across the river, handcuffing him and sexually assaulting him twice. After, Szad said, he threatened to kill the boy and made him walk away down nearby railroad tracks.
The boy reported the attack the same day, and when police identified Szad, he fled the state. Investigators caught up to him in July, when he was arrested in Idaho and extradited back to Vermont.
Szad is described as 6 feet, 5 inches tall, weighing 255 pounds, with grey hair, hazel eyes and a fair complexion. The state said his likely targets, were he to re-offend, would be “male strangers between the ages of 12 and 13, in particular those with blonde hair and blue eyes.”