Public shares concerns about recent sex offender placement

Kitsap County and the Washington State Department of Corrections hosted a public notification meeting in Poulsbo on Monday, for the placement of another sexually violent predator at a Less Restrictive Alternative (LRA) group housing facility on Viking Way.

Prior to the meeting, Kitsap County put out information regarding the new resident, Raymond Messmer, 67, including his extensive criminal history of sexually violent crimes dating back to the late 1970s.

While locals, in general, have voiced concerns surrounding the placement any sexually violent predators (SVPs) into the house on Viking Way, Messmer has brought particular alarm due to his past experiences in LRA facilities.

According to documents provided to the North Kitsap Herald by the group Washington State for Public Safety (WSPS), a Poulsbo group that has actively sought to shut down the house on Viking Way, Messmer has a long list of violations while living in LRAs, some as recent as October and November of 2019.

The list includes:

• Discontinuing of prescribed medication (which is also a violation of a direct court order)

• Possession of unapproved material (possession of a book about Glenn Beck)

• Failing to follow staff directives

• Contact with a minor

• Failing to comply with GPS monitoring requirements

• Displaying of unsafe, aggressive and intimidating behavior toward other LRA residents and staff.

“I’m very, very concerned about this release and to me, this is completely indicative of the problem with the [other] releases that are happening with the civil commitment program. He has a number of violations, he has 11 violations on LRA within the past five years. It’s just a repeating pattern,” Tricia Benson, executive director for WSPS told reporters.

Benson asked some of the representatives of the DOC and Department for Social and Health Services present at the meeting that were aware of this information, why they didn’t recommend to the court that Messmer remain on McNeil Island?

According to Benson, DOC representative Dominic Winters said that they need to look at the violations in context, providing an example of a case where a failure to follow staff directives could be that the SVP turns right

when told to turn left.

“While what he [Winters] said is true, that’s not what’s happening in this particular case with Messmer. He has significant issues with following directives and that is a repeating pattern and he has behavioral issues, and that is a repeating pattern,” Benson said.

Other citizens who live close to the house on Viking Way, such as Rory Janson also asked questions of the DOC and DSHS reps about additional security.

“The records of this particular person indicate that he’s violated the terms of his Less Restrictive Alternative several times, including multiple violations in the last six months. So I was really concerned and wondering how the Sheriffs Office or the Department of Corrections was going to assure the community’s safety, above and beyond the other predators that are at this house,” Janson said.

According to Janson, the answer was that there are no additional measures in place now that Messmer is at the house on Viking Way.

According to Janson other members of the neighborhood asked the DOC reps how the community would be notified should Messmer escape undetected. They were told neither the Sheriff’s Office nor DOC had a provision for that, once the SVPs are in the house they are the responsibility of the company that runs it, Westsound Support Services.

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