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An uneasy first in Friday Harbor
Two years after his request to relocate to San Juan Island was denied by state Corrections officials, a level 3 sex offender is putting down roots in Friday Harbor.
Local authorities two weeks ago received a letter from David Franklin Stewart notifying them of his intent to relocate to San Juan Island, where he and his wife bought a home in the Bridle Trails Estates neighborhood in 2004. The 60-year-old, convicted a year earlier of first-degree rape of a child, is no longer under supervision of the state Department of Corrections and is free to come and go, and live, where he chooses, San Juan County Sheriff Rob Nou said.
“He’s served his time, so to speak,” Nou said. “Two years ago we had two community meetings that were well-attended and we were very upfront at that time in saying that in 22 months he would no longer be under Corrections’ supervision.”
As a registered sex offender, Nou said that Stewart must notify the Sheriff’s Department of his place of residency within three days after moving to his San Juan Island home or to another residence in the county. Stewart reportedly was seen at his Bridle Trails home, in the 400 block of Tarte Road, beginning Feb. 17, according to neighbors.
Stewart, who, as a Level 3 sex offender, is considered at “high-risk” to re-offend, served 7 1/2 years in prison and nearly two years of DOC-supervised probation following his conviction in 2003. He had lived in the Sultan area, located near the Monroe state penitentiary, following his release from prison. The crimes of which he was convicted involved a young family and were committed at that time in Snohomish County.
As of this date, there are over 12,000 sex offenders in Washington State. San Juan County is home to 32 registered sex offenders, according to Sheriff’s Department, 26 of whom are classified as Level I, at low risk to reoffend, and five at Level II, an “intermediate” risk; Stewart is the only Level III sex offender living in the county.
According to the sheriff’s department sex-offender Web page, Stewart admitted to a 30-year history of sexually assaulting boys and girls as young as 1-2 years of age, as well as teens. He completed a sex offender treatment program while on probation.
Stewart’s request in 2011 to relocate to San Juan Island prompted a series of protests on the courthouse lawn and a flurry of letters to Corrections from local residents asking that his request to move to San Juan Island be denied. Officers based in Corrections Oak Harbor headquarters made successive visits to the Bridle Trails neighborhood at that time and recommended to their superiors in Olympia that the request should be denied.
Nou said the Sheriff’s department intends to notify the public of Stewart’s plans to relocate to San Juan Island, and that the department would make quarterly checks about his residency in the event that he does move to the island.