Why was a serial child sex offender released years early? Parole board responds

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — The vice chair of the Colorado State Board of Parole is calling the situation “gut-wrenching” after a sex offender released on parole reportedly reoffended in Aurora.

Kenneth Dean Lee, 65, was arrested this month after reportedly sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl after identifying himself as an immigration official

Lee had already been sentenced to 23 years to life in prison in 2014 for a series of similar sex assaults. He also pleaded guilty that year to two counts of kidnapping with a sexual factual basis, and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for those charges.

However, Lee was paroled on April 22, 2020, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections.

“I think we often look at our past behavior to predict future behavior, and Mr. Lee, at every turn with his past behavior, told us that he was going to victimize people again,” said Amy Ferrin, who was an Arapahoe County deputy district attorney when Lee was sentenced in 2014.

At the time, she says she feared he would be paroled and re-offend.

“Back in 2014, that was evident,” she said. “He had committed a near-identical crime over decades, and sadly, I wasn’t surprised to hear he had done it again.”

Parole Board Vice Chair Chad Dilworth released the following statement Wednesday, explaining the board’s decision to grant parole:

This is extremely gut-wrenching as this deranged individual preyed on vulnerable individuals — when this was reviewed by the board, the individual was participating in offense specific treatment, had met the criteria required to be considered for parole, and medical professionals believed he was at low risk to society to reoffend. This case was considered on these merits in December 2019, granted in January 2020 and had nothing to do with the pandemic.

Chad Dilworth, Colorado State Board of Parole

Ferrin said the issue likely lies with a series of tools used by the parole board to predict risk level. 

Despite Lee committing assaults as far back as 1996, he wasn’t convicted of any until 2014, something Ferrin said could have impacted the risk level.

“Mr. Lee had no prior convictions for sex offense because we didn’t catch him until 2010, for all of this behavior, regardless of when it happened,” she said. “So even though in 2014 he stood convicted of crimes, and the same crimes that he had committed in 2010 and 1996 against multiple victims, the tool looked at him as someone who had very little or no criminal history, and that is where the tool failed.”

It’s unclear how many board members voted for his release. FOX31 has requested the voting records and will update this story when they are obtained.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Most Read

Top Stories