MONTPELIER -- A sex offender deemed at high risk to commit new crimes was released from a Vermont prison on Friday, and Gov. Peter Shumlin said he was heading to California.
Timothy Szad, 53, left the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield at about 5 a.m., said the prison's superintendent, P. Mark Potanas.
Corrections officials had said last week that Szad was to live with family in Springfield after his release, but authorities said a public outcry led the family to withdraw the offer.
The case highlights a dilemma in releasing sex offenders still deemed dangerous even after having served time: Corrections officials and police frequently want to notify the public, but that notification itself can create big problems in getting the person reintegrated into society.
After the plan for Szad to live in Springfield fell apart, corrections officials said they had no plan for him. Because Szad had served his sentence maximum, they would have no control over him. He would not be on probation or parole.
On Thursday, Potanas and Dale Crook, director of field supervision for the Corrections Department, said Szad would be moving out of state, but they would not say where he was going.
Shumlin and the Corrections Department issued statements Friday saying Szad was going to California.
"This has been a difficult situation, and I have shared the concerns expressed by many Vermonters about ensuring a placement for Mr. Szad that guarantees Vermonters' safety and keeps Mr. Szad accountable," the governor said.
"I appreciate that the Department of Corrections and others were able to work together to find him an appropriate placement in California," Shumlin added.
A Corrections Department statement issued Friday morning, which still did not mention California, said, "Mr. Szad is required to register with the sex offender registry maintained by the Vermont Department of Public Safety, as well as registering as a sex offender in any state he chooses to reside in." A later department statement said California was Szad's destination.