A sexually violent predator on parole who was unable to find housing in Jamestown and Longmont now lives in Boulder with the help of a voucher system for parolees run by the Colorado Department of Corrections.
Boulder Police notified the community Monday that Christopher Lawyer, 42, secured a parole bed at the privately-run Boulder Shelter for the Homeless off Broadway and Lee Hill Drive.
A spokesman for the DOC says a parole bed refers to when the department pays a shelter or motel to temporarily house a parolee while that person seeks permanent housing. Interim public information officer Mark Fairbairn says shelters do not specially designate space at their facilities for parolees. Across Colorado, the DOC says 196 offenders are living in shelters.
Fairbairn says costs can vary depending where a parolee is staying. In Lawyer’s case, Fairbairn says it ranges from $60 to $280 per week. The state will continue to fund Lawyer’s stay at the shelter while he looks for more permanent housing to prevent him from living on the streets.
The shelter’s executive director Greg Harms says Lawyer could live at the shelter for up to 60 days, which is the limit placed on all guests during the summer. Lawyer must also follow the same rules as non-parolees, Harms said.
Lawyer pleaded guilty in 2001 to first and second degree sexual assault. He was accused of kidnapping and raping a newspaper delivery woman at gunpoint in Boulder. The DOC prevented him from moving to Jamestown in late April in part because of concerns raised by the community. A planned move to Longmont also fell through on Sunday.
Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa told city council Tuesday night that the police department plans to meet with shelter staff Wednesday to learn more about Lawyer’s living arrangements. Testa also said Lawyer is a life-time parolee and would have to register his address monthly with police.
According to Testa, Lawyer wears a GPS ankle monitor and the terms of his parole heavily restrict his movements outside of the shelter. Lawyer is also unemployed and doesn’t own a car, Testa said.
Boulder has a total of 123 registered sex offenders, Testa announced. Two, including Lawyer, are labeled sexually violent predators. Testa says people can register online to receive notifications when a sex offender moves into their zip code.
The DOC currently tracks how many parolees are homeless. It did not have the exact number immediately available.