CORVALLIS, Ore. — The Benton County Sheriff's Office said 34-year-old Timothy Mross, a level three sex offender, was released in Corvallis Monday to the Benton County Transition Center at 555 Northwest Monroe Street. The facility is located across the street from a public library and a park. KATU also discovered Mross was left off Oregon's public sex offender registry website for three days. The website is required to display level three sex offenders, considered the most likely to re-offend.
Mross has repeatedly been convicted of sex crimes.
"The situation is disturbing," Jean Waters, a longtime Corvallis resident who brings her 3-year-old granddaughter to the area often, told a KATU reporter. "I'm glad you're taking steps to let people know."
Waters said she was unaware of the location of the transition center.
"We spend a lot of time with her at the library and we'll sometimes go to the park," the grandmother of four explained. "She's young so I would not leave her alone, but I've taken the other kids to the parks here."
On Monday, deputies said Mross was released from prison after a more than year-long sentence for his third public indecency conviction and started living at the transition center.
"I think that's irresponsible for them to have him this close," Waters said while standing across the street.
The sheriff's parole and probation commander told a KATU reporter they don't have a lot of other options for housing people like Mross. And he said the transition center is right around the corner from the police station. He also pointed out the parole and probation center is across the street.
"They can't see your kids. So what?!" said Waters. "I mean that doesn't really mean much."
The sheriff's office said Mross had to meet certain rules and regulations at the transition center but was generally allowed to come and go during the day. His curfew ran from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.
"It's not good," said Waters.
KATU discovered Mross has a long rap sheet with around 30 criminal convictions for crimes including third-degree theft and criminal trespassing as well as three convictions for public indecency. His latest conviction for the sex crime was in 2017.
A charging document says:
"The defendant, on or about Aug. 25, 2017, in Benton County, Oregon, did feloniously and with intent of arousing the sexual desire of defendant or another person, expose his genitals while in or in view of a public place. ... The defendant committed this crime while on release status with other criminal charges pending."
As for his status the state says, "A level 3 sex offender presents the highest risk to re-offend and requires the widest range of notification including listing on the Oregon State Police sex offender registry public website."
But when a KATU reporter checked for Mross on the public website Tuesday and Wednesday he wasn't listed. He was eventually listed Thursday after we asked multiple officials about him.
"I would hope that we would be able to trust that we could look up and know who's around our neighborhood and around our kids because you never know," said Waters.
Capt. Timothy Fox, an Oregon State Police spokesman, said the state's Parole and Post-Prison Supervision Board sent a letter to Mross on Jan. 16 telling him about his level three designation. Fox said Mross had 60 days to appeal before his leveling was formalized but on Jan. 23 he chose not to. On Jan. 28 he was released from prison.
Dylan Arthur, the executive director of Oregon's Parole and Post-Prison Supervision Board, which is responsible for leveling sex offenders, sent KATU the following statement at 4:04 p.m. Wednesday:
"We received the singed (sic) waiver of Mr. Mross’s right to have a hearing on 1.24.18. As all level III designations require a Board members (sic) review and signature it was forwarded to them on that same date. The Assessment Specialist who was working Mr. Mross’s case was out of the office on Friday. As of the time of this email the notification has been sent to the Oregon State Police Sex Offender Registry office."
Arthur did not immediately respond to an email from a KATU reporter Wednesday asking why this wasn't all taken care of well before Mross was released from prison.
On Wedensday, Fox said Mross would likely appear on the public sex offender registry website on Thursday, which turned out to be true.
Deputies said Mross was arrested Tuesday for violating curfew and booked into the Benton County jail.
"We have limited jail space, and how long he stays is dependent on several factors, none of which I could predict, but I suspect he will be out before the weekend," Benton County Undersheriff Gregory Ridler told a KATU reporter via email Wednesday afternoon.
The sheriff's parole and probation commander said it's likely Mross will wind up back at the Benton County Transition Center after he's released.