Essex Community Shares Concerns After Sex Offender Moves In

People in Essex are feeling uneasy, after a sex offender moved to their town August 2.  51-year-old Sean Guillette served 17 years in prison for four counts of lewd and lascivious conduct.  Two of his offenses were with 10 and 11 year old girls.

"I can't make promises, I can't tell you where he's going from here, what I can tell you is we can do the best we can do to keep the community safe," says Essex Police Chief Brad Larose.

Larose spearheaded a public meeting, the first of its kind in Essex, to hear the public's concerns.  DOCCS officials and leaders of Essex's Community Justice Center were also there.

"The way our laws are set up right now, there isn't a whole lot the police or the state can do, we don't have any legislation that would allow for a recommitment of Mr. Guillette," says Rep. Linda Myers (R- Essex Town).

What officials and community members say is worrisome, Guillete did not complete treatment while in prison.  This marks him as "high risk."  Guillette is one of 23 sex offenders in Essex, according to Larose.

"There are 3% of sex offenders who offend on a stranger, what's difficult about this case is there were two strangers," says Kris Goldstein of Vermont's Department of Corrections.

Community Justice Center Director Jill Evans says Guillette is interested in seeking more treatment, and has agreed to participate in Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA).  It is a support group he will voluntarily meet with for one year.

"Whether it's a sex offender or not, if someone is marginalized, they don't behave well, they'll re-offend," says Evans.

"His family is here and that's probably the only support he has, so I hope we can come together on this instead of being divided," says Ann Atkins of Essex Town.

Guillette is no longer under DOCCS supervision, as he has maxed out his prison sentence.  Larose says he is not banned from any place, nor from any person.  His only requirement is to remain compliant with Vermont's Sex Offender Registry.  Larose says he has had multiple conversations with Guillette, who says he will cooperate.
 


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