Public spectacle draws police
A registered sex offender who drives around town with a puppy in his lap and hangs out at schools, parks and soccer games has one man so unnerved he made a public spectacle of himself Wednesday morning outside the Battlement Mesa Activity Center.
Travis Metcalf made such a display that he was issued a citation by police for disorderly conduct after allegedly threatening a registered sex offender. He has a court appearance set for June 25.
Other witnesses to the outburst told attendants inside the activity center, 398 Arroyo Drive, to call the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department because a fight between two men was imminent, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis said.
Metcalf said he was telling everyone that Timothy Alan Larsen, 62, of Battlement Mesa, is a registered sex offender.
Larsen was convicted of sexual assault on a child in 1997, spent seven years behind bars and is now a free man, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Larsen has no restrictions on where he can live, where he can go or whom he can associate with, McGinnis said.
The only thing Larsen is required to do is register with local law enforcement and keep the Sheriff’s Department advised of his current residence, which he is doing, she said.
“He is absolutely in compliance,” McGinnis said.
Yet, according to Metcalf, he’s been acting suspicious.
“He hangs out at the elementary school watching the little boys go to school, he goes to the soccer field and watches the little boys practice,” Metcalf said.
When he saw Larsen at the activity center, where a temporary preschool is being held, Metcalf admits he lost control of his emotions.
“I was screaming at the top of my lungs at him,” said the 34-year-old Metcalf, a husband and a father of three children, ages 14, 12 and 5. “I ended up getting a ticket for disorderly conduct out of the deal.”
McGinnis said deputies had little choice in the matter.
“(Larsen) is a sex offender, but he has rights,” McGinnis said. “We have the responsibility of keeping him safe as well.”
Metcalf said he understands that, but he was told authorities would not act unless Larsen broke the law.
“That’s what they said: They’ve got to catch him with his hand in the cookie jar. And I said, ‘That is really nice, being that the cookie jar is going to be a 6-year-old boy,’ ” Metcalf said.
After the confrontation, Larsen was banned from returning to the activity center, said Bob Jasper, district manager of the Consolidated Metropolitan District, which oversees the activity center.
Despite his June 25 court date, Metcalf said he is keeping the pressure on Larsen by distributing fliers with Larsen’s picture and identifying information, and Metcalf is attempting to organize a “parent watch” to raise public awareness.
“I don’t want him arrested. I just don’t want him hanging out watching kids,” Metcalf said. “(For anyone convicted of a sexual offense on a child) there should be a distance stipulation on parks and schools, and if that inconveniences them for the rest of their life, they should have thought about that before they molested a child.”
Metcalf said he is getting his information about Larsen from a Web site, www.familywatchdog.us, that documents convicted sex offenders nationally.
According to the Web site, there are five Grand Valley area schools with more than 10 registered sex offenders living within a half-mile of the school. Steve Roddel, president and CEO of Family Watchdog, said the 3-year-old site is updated throughout the day with the latest information available. He said he is unable to chastise people like Metcalf who use the site as a tool to protect their children and their community.
“It would be awfully hard for me to find fault with someone who is out trying to protect his community,” Roddel said.
He added that if a convicted sex offender is displaying high-risk behaviors, like hanging out at parks and schools with a puppy, that person should be confronted and made aware that he is being watched.
Tell them you know who they are, and, ‘You are not going to do it on my watch,’ ” Roddel said. “I wouldn’t necessarily call it overreacting.” ..more.. by LE ROY STANDISH, The Daily Sentinel