A high-risk sex offender set to be released from prison Thursday after serving his maximum sentence is now expected to move into Vermont's largest city.
Tuesday, police in central Vermont said Richard Laws, 59, indicated to them that he intended to live in Montpelier, and be homeless.
However, Wednesday, police in Burlington notified the community that Laws will instead move to that city.
Laws was convicted of aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault for a 1992 attack on a woman who rebuffed his advances at a bar. The survivor of that sexual assault, whom New England Cable News is not identifying without her permission, has secured a rarely-seen type of restraining order that prevents Laws from being in three towns near her house, unless he is merely driving through on two main roads.
While incarcerated, Laws did not comply with sex offender therapy, according to the Burlington Police Department and the Vermont Department of Corrections. Because he served his very maximum sentence, Laws will no longer be supervised by corrections officials. He must provide updates on his whereabouts to the Vermont Sex Offender Registry, managed by the Vermont Department of Public Safety.
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger issued a statement in connection about the impending release, reading, in part, "If Mr. Laws does come to Burlington, the police will contact him and actively work to ensure that he complies with the conditions required as a life-time registrant on the Vermont Sex Offender Registry. I urge community vigilance, while hoping that Mr. Laws succeeds with his reintegration."
Police agencies in central Vermont described him Tuesday as a "high risk" sex offender.
In an announcement to media outlets Wednesday afternoon, Burlington police said they would be contacting shelters in the area, as well as notifying downtown establishments by going door-to-door.
Laws is described by police as being 6' 2", 220 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.