To all of my neighbors who have voiced concerns about the arrival of a Level III Sex Offender named David Stewart, I make the following statements.
I am his wife and have read the notification sent out and put online by the authorities. I ask that you read my statements before rushing to judgment.
1. David was convicted in 2003 of a crime he committed in 1994. I do not minimize the seriousness of his crime but it was not against a member of the public. David has no previous criminal history and has never been accused, charged or convicted of any other crime.
2. Contrary public perception, David was rated as a Level I Sex Offender by Department of Corrections (DOC) End of Sentence Risk Committee using the standardized risk instrument developed by the State of Washington. This instrument measures the risk of who is at risk if he reoffends.
According to the Washington State Institute of Public Policy the risk of re-offense is exactly the same across all three levels and notification level is not an indicator of likelihood of re-offense. Level I carries no public notification as the general public is not considered to be at risk.
David has never offended against strangers nor formed relationships for the purpose of offending. He meets none of the criteria for a Level III classification.
The DOC chose to artificially raise David's level to Level III so that the general public would be notified. They stated in their Snohomish County notification this was due to fear of his reoffending based on his previous criminal history. A criminal record which does not exist. Through public disclosure documents we found the DOC has used information that is not accurate, nor verifiable, but rather a sexual history that does not exist at all.
We have appealed to the DOC to correct their information but to date they have not done so. Even using the fictional history which includes victims and ages that do not exist, the DOC was unable by objective means to achieve a rating for a level greater than Level I.
We have submitted a personal restraint petition with the Appellate Court asking that they direct the DOC to follow the law and use accurate, verified and confirmed information.
3. Contrary to the Snohomish County information, David was not terminated from Sex Offender treatment for failure to make progress.
Prior to being convicted David was in treatment for about 9 months with a respected certified treatment provider where he made good progress and was recommended for the alternative sentencing of six months work release.
On voluntarily entering the prison therapy system which consists of about 10-12 months of therapy we discovered that they did not use, nor did they have any requirement to use, certified providers.
As allowed by law we hired a private therapist with a PhD, 40 years counseling experience and 29 years as a certified sex offender provider. Even though they were aware that David was in private therapy, the prison immediately moved David to another facility, effectively blocking treatment.
We appealed but David was only able to have a few sessions with her. He was unable to complete his therapy in prison and will continue in therapy with an approved certified provider. He is committed to never reoffending.
I write this not to justify David's actions or to minimize his crime. I would like simply to put some truth to rumors that are circulating. I do not minimize the public's concern. However, DOC is aware that they are circulating information which is not accurate and inflammatory and which will in time be corrected and made accurate.
In response to the letter written by Joyce Stewart regarding her husband, David Franklin Stewart, a Level III Sex Offender:
When a sexual offender is convicted he or she will obtain a level of status for their crimes. The level of status being I, II, or III.
During the incarceration period, the Offender can attend therapy programs offered by the institution of incarceration. The therapy programs are run by highly qualified and credited professionals. We need to remember that these programs are offered to offenders by government agencies to give them a fair opportunity to receive the help they require for successful rehabilitation.
At the conclusion of the sexual offenders incarceration, he or she receives what is called an "end of sentence review." This review is conducted by the End of Sentence Review Committee (ESRC).
"The ESRC consists of the representatives of state and local agencies that release sex offenders; Department of Corrections, Department of Social and Health Services, local police or sheriff's departments, and the state Indeterminate Sentence Review Board."
David Franklin Stewart's case was reviewed by the ESRC which then assigned him Level III status. This decision was not made solely by the department of correction, but was made by all of the named agencies above.
After the decision has been made and the offender petitions to reside in a County, it falls on that County Sheriff to raise or lower the status of the offender. It is very rare that the status is ever lowered. In most cases, the Sheriff of a County will increase that status to minimize the risk to his or her community members.
I hope this response has shed some light on the way in which our government system works to keep our communities and children safe.
Additional reference: Sex offender sentencing in Washington state: Notication levels and recidivism