UPDATE: Sex offender living with lawmaker registered in April
DENVER — A week ago, FOX 31 Denver was the first news outlet to report that state Rep. Randy Baumgardner was allowing an unregistered sex offender to live at his home in Grand County.
Baumgardner, who is challenging Republican Sen. Jean White for her senate seat, told FOX31 that he was aware of the situation and believed that there was a pending court date for his ranch-hand, Michael Frierson, to register himself as a sex offender in the coming days.
Turns out, everyone was confused.
Frierson has been registered since April 12, when he was arrested in Baumgardner’s driveway for having failed to update his sex offender registration status when he moved.
But, when news outlets including FOX31 checked Colorado’s online database of registered sex offenders as recently as Thursday, Frierson’s name never came up.
“His name doesn’t appear when you do a search online because he was charged with a misdemeanor,” said Susan Medina with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. “Only online adult felonies are listed online when you search.”
Even with the June 26 primary approaching, Baumgardner never attempted to set the record straight with news outlets, as the story was picked up by news outlets across the state, along with national websites and newspapers like the New York Daily News.
Baumgardner, who has challenged White’s values after she voted in favor of civil unions this year, has shrugged off criticism for allowing Frierson, who had an unlawful relationship with a teenage girl more than 10 years younger than him, to live in his home with his own 7-year-old son.
Frierson, 32, is registered as living at Baumgardner’s address on Ridgeway Avenue in Hot Sulphur Springs; he was arrested there on April 12 for failing to register as a sex offender in the county and Baumgardner’s wife, Lori, paid the $2,000 to bail him out.
“He was arrested but no charges were filed,” Baumgardner told FOX31 Denver a week ago. “He came to us a year and a half ago and has been working on our farm. He’s never been anything but respectful.
“We took him at his word that he screwed up when he was young, and, you know, most of us do. He didn’t re-register when he moved and that’s why he was arrested a few months back.”
In that phone interview with FOX31 last week, Baumgardner, apparently unaware that Frierson registered in April, said he thought that a court date was set for him to bring his status current.
According to records obtained by FOX 31 Denver, Frierson has a lengthy history as a sex offender.
In 2002, he was arrested for assault and menacing, but that charge was dismissed. A year later, he was plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge for sexual assault on a victim that was more than 10 years younger than him — he was 25 at the time.
In 2004, two felony charges against Frierson, sexual assault for attempting to coerce a child and enticement of a child, were dismissed.
All told, his rap sheet, which starts with an arrest in 1998, includes 13 separate arrests for everything from burglary and theft to carrying prohibited weapons and property damage.