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Uproar Over Release Has Serial Rapist Reconsidering

Living with sister is his only alternative to homeless shelter
10-11-2007 Connecticut:

Serial rapist David M. Pollitt, days away from being released from prison after 241/2 years, has heard of a Southbury neighborhood's reaction to his imminent arrival and is having second thoughts, according to his family's attorney.

Pollitt, 54, is set to move in with his sister, Janice Rosengren, and her family, who live at 135 Fox Run Drive, and is to be closely supervised by the Department of Adult Probation, which is likely to keep him in a type of “lockdown” in the sister's home until it can assess his risk of re-offending.

Neighbors have been in an uproar since learning over the weekend that Pollitt would be living in the suburban area. He was convicted in the late 1970s and 1980s of attacks on women in Old Lyme, Waterford, Killingworth, Rocky Hill and Wallingford, and police said they suspected him of other crimes.

He has never admitted to the crimes, and his sister proclaimed in a letter to neighbors that the family thinks he is innocent.

Neighborhood groups have been gathering at a house across the street from the one where Pollitt will live. They have called town officials, the governor's office, and state agencies like the Department of Adult Probation and Department of Correction. Some have signed an online petition to keep Pollitt in prison, and many have told the media of their fears.

The family's attorney said Tuesday that neighbors put up a sign in Rosengren's yard Monday and accosted her when she went to her mailbox. He said Pollitt, preparing to leave the Osborn Correctional Center in Somers on Friday, has heard of some of the controversy and has had second thoughts.

“They've talked to David, and he's at the point where he doesn't want to come home,” said attorney Jerry E. Attanasio. He said that Pollitt's only options upon his release were to live with a family member or go to a homeless shelter, and that Rosengren and her husband could not let him go to a shelter.

Pollitt has several other family members in Connecticut, but only Janice Rosengren volunteered to take him in, Attanasio said. Because he had served his full sentence and is not on parole, there is no transitional housing, such as a halfway house, available.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the plan for Pollitt to be released to his sister's house had not changed.

“He's going there, but he's not happy with what his family is going through,” Attanasio said. “He was prepared and ready that something like this would happen, but he feels bad.”

Rosengren has two daughters, one 17 and one a few years older, and both will eventually be moving out of the house, according to Attanasio.

Pollitt committed the type of crimes that spark the most fear in a community — sexually assaulting strangers, said Chief Probation Officer William Anselmo, who heads up the state's sex offender supervision for the probation department.

Anselmo was on his way to Southbury Tuesday afternoon to explain the strict conditions of Pollitt's release to neighbors. Pollitt will report to the probation department immediately upon his release Friday and will be fitted with a global positioning satellite device that will enable the state to track his movement. The state will determine where he works and whom he socializes with.

The probation department could initially order a type of lockdown that would allow Pollitt to leave the house only for work, probation meetings and treatment appointments. Pollitt has five years of probation, and the department's normal procedure is to start off with strict conditions and gradually reduce them as they get to know the offender and see that he is complying.

Pollitt will undergo sex offender evaluation and treatment — something he did not voluntarily undertake in prison — and will have to take responsibility for his crimes in order to remain in compliance.

Probation, town officials and local legislators are expected to go to the neighborhood at 5 p.m. today to speak with people who are concerned about the release, according to Kevin Powers, who lives on nearby Wolfpit Drive.

“It's been a circus here the last two days,” Powers said Tuesday afternoon. He said that there are between 75 and 100 children in the neighborhood and that everyone is on a first-name basis.

“Our neighborhood is a children's park, and he's going to be sitting in the middle of their sandbox,” he said.

Pollitt was sentenced to 45 years in prison but was able to reduce the sentence by more than 20 years with so-called “good time” — or time off for good behavior — from the Department of Correction. Based on the way the law was written at the time of sentencing, he received 17 years off the sentence up front, according to a correction official. He received additional “good time” by working seven days a week while in prison, earning one day for every week he worked the full seven days.

The “good time” provision became stricter in the months after Pollitt was sentenced and was eliminated under the so-called “truth in sentencing law,” which pertains to crimes committed after Oct. 1, 1994. ..more.. by Karen Florin

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