Sexually violent predator searches for new home; police say homeless shelter is only option

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BOULDER, Colo -- A sexually violent predator who has been looking for a new home has been placed in a Boulder homeless shelter, worrying residents who live close to the facility.

Christopher Lawyer kidnapped and raped a mail carrier in 2001. He taped her eyes and mouth shut, and assaulted her. When it was over, he made small talk with the victim as he drove home.

Law enforcement deemed him a sexually violent predator because officers believed he'll commit more crimes.

He was sentenced to 12 years to life in prison. The state parole board granted him parole after 16 years.

Lawyer initially tried to move to Jamestown but the community said no.

Next, he planned to move to Longmont, but the community said no.

A Boulder police spokesman said the Boulder Shelter on Broadway is the last option. If not, Lawyer will be homeless.

If he is homeless, it's not guaranteed he can charge his ankle monitor at night. If the bracelet runs out of battery life, officers would lose the GPS coordinates to track him.

Margret Ann Thors lives a short distance from the shelter. Since learning Lawyer is living at the shelter, she has stopped walking home from the bus, and drives her car to and from campus.

"I feel more comfortable driving up to my house as opposed to walking the half mile or three-quarters 4 of a mile in the dark," Thors said.

Thors said the fear of being sexually assaulted is a real fear for women and knowing that a sexually violent predator lives so close is scary.

"It’s very disconcerting to me, especially as a young woman," Thors said. "To have the threat literally placed in my backyard is kind of a next level for the anxiety. I think people already deal with it."

The homeless shelter only allows its residents to sleep there at night, so during the day, Lawyer will have to go elsewhere.

The Boulder Police Department is stepping up patrols in the area. The homeless shelter said it's not doing anything differently; it will be up to Lawyer's parole officer to supervise him.

Lawyer's stay at the shelter costs the Colorado Department of Corrections $280 a week. A spokesman for the shelter said the program Lawyer is in runs for two months.

The shelter has male and female dormitories. Lawyer will sleep in the male dormitory with other men.

There will be a community meeting to discuss Lawyer's home placement from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at Centennial Middle School in Boulder.

A police spokesman said the department invited the state parole board to attend the meeting and explain its decision to let Lawyer out on parole. The board declined the invitation.