[bouldercouncilhotline] Hotline: RE: Sex offender

cmosupport at bouldercolorado.gov cmosupport at bouldercolorado.gov
Thu May 4 12:19:19 MDT 2017

Sender: Johnson, Curtis

Council Members,

I am providing the following information in an attempt to answer most of the questions that have been asked regarding Christopher Lawyer living at the homeless shelter.  There has been a lot of speculation and rumors regarding this situation and hopefully this email will provide some clarity.  This information is based on my conversations with the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and the staff from State Parole Office.

The most common question I have heard is why is he in Boulder.  Mr. Lawyer is from Boulder.  He committed his crimes in Boulder, was arrested by Boulder Police and his conviction and sentencing occurred in Boulder.  After serving his sentence, he was originally paroled to live with family in Boulder.  He is not a sex offender from another jurisdiction that was brought to Boulder for a “parole bed” at the shelter.

So why is he at the shelter?  Initially Mr. Lawyer resided with his mother in unincorporated Boulder County, a few hundred yards east of the City limit.  He violated the conditions of his parole and was returned to prison for 180 days.  Upon his second release, he attempted to reside with a family member near Jamestown.  A number of logistical problems made this difficult.  Among them was limited cell phone service, long response times for the Sheriff’s Department and a concern that his GPS ankle monitor may not work well in the mountains.  Mr. Lawyer was then placed in a motel in Longmont.  The owner of the motel decided his presence would be bad for business, so the owner (who has housed other parolees in the past) decided to refuse him a room.  The remaining options were to place Mr. Lawyer at the shelter or have him be homeless on the streets of Boulder with no fixed address.  Parole believes that having a roof over a parolee’s head is better than not and it is also advantageous to have a sex offender living at an actual address as opposed to “homeless in Boulder.”  It was also pointed out to me by Parole that the GPS ankle monitor being worn by Mr. Lawyer has to be re-charged and plugged in.  This can happen at the shelter, it would be difficult if he was living on the streets.

At the shelter, Mr. Lawyer is treated like any other resident.  He must depart the shelter by 8:00 AM and return in the evening.  He lives with all of the other residents participating in the summer program.  There is no segregation or special living arrangement for him.  He is eligible to remain at the shelter for 60 days during the summer, just like anyone else, as long as he follows the rules.  The Boulder shelter is not the only shelter with “parole beds” but it is the only shelter in Boulder County.  For more information on the “parole beds” see the links below to recent news articles on the topic.



Mr. Lawyer has a parole officer that is based out of their office in Longmont.  He is one of many parolees assigned to this officer.  He wears a GPS ankle monitor and Parole has the ability to monitor his location.  Mr. Lawyer is not allowed to randomly wander the streets of Boulder.  He is prohibited from the neighborhoods, bike paths, etc. Parole has also set up geo fences around schools and other location in North Boulder.  If Mr. Lawyer goes to any of these locations, the parole officer is immediately notified.  Mr. Lawyer is allowed to travel to therapy sessions, the grocery store and he can visit his mother.  Other than that, his ability to travel is restricted and monitored.  Twice a day the parole officer reviews where Mr. Lawyer has been based on the GPS information.  The Boulder Police Department does not have immediate access to his GPS location.  We can contact his parole officer and ask for that information, but Boulder Police cannot actively monitor his location.

The Police Department has increased patrols in the areas near the shelter and we have made our employees aware of Mr. Lawyer and his presence in our community.  The Boulder Police Department and the City of Boulder has no legal authority to direct or dictate where a sex offender may live.  Unless court restrictions exist, Mr. Lawyer is constitutionally free to live wherever he chooses.

The Police Department is in the process of setting up a community meeting to be held the week of May 8th.  We intend to have representative from the Sex Offender Management Board, Parole and the DA’s Office present to provide additional information and answer questions from the community.



Curtis Johnson
Deputy Chief
O: # (303) 441-4312
johnsonc at bouldercolorado.gov<mailto:johnsonc at bouldercolorado.gov>

Boulder Police Department
1805 33rd Street | Boulder, CO 80301

From: Morzel, Lisa
Sent: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 10:08 AM
To: Testa, Greg <TESTAG at bouldercolorado.gov<mailto:TESTAG at bouldercolorado.gov>>
Cc: Council <council at bouldercolorado.gov<mailto:council at bouldercolorado.gov>>; Brautigam, Jane <BrautigamJ at bouldercolorado.gov<mailto:BrautigamJ at bouldercolorado.gov>>; Cordingly, Shannon <CordinglyS at bouldercolorado.gov<mailto:CordinglyS at bouldercolorado.gov>>; Johnson, Curtis <JOHNSONC at bouldercolorado.gov<mailto:JOHNSONC at bouldercolorado.gov>>; HOTLINE <HOTLINE at bouldercolorado.gov<mailto:HOTLINE at bouldercolorado.gov>>
Subject: Re: Sex offender

Thank you, Greg, for this information.

I have a few additional questions about this current situation.

1. Is this individual required to check in every night with the Boulder homeless shelter?  If so and he does not show up at the pre-requisite time, what options does the homeless shelter have in terms of location where this individual is?   Will this individual be required to wear some kind of a GPS bracelet so that we the community and you the police know his location at all times?  For what duration of time will this individual be housed in a parole bed at the shelter?   What protections will others staying at the Boulder homeless shelter have against this individual?
I have limited information on this question.  We are meeting with Shelter Staff tomorrow and will ask for these answers.  I was told he has an ankle monitor, which would be monitored by his parole staff.

2.  What is defined as a parole bed?  How is it that the Longmont Police Department was successful in rejecting his coming and living in Longmont?  How is it that Boulder is required to take this person in or is it required?  Could Boulder, like Longmont, reject this individual's presence in our community, especially given the fact that some of his crimes were committed in our community?  How many parole beds are there at the boulder homeless shelter?  are parole beds located elsewhere in the city of Boulder?
I currently don’t have information on parole beds and we will get more information tomorrow.  Regarding Longmont, it’s my understanding that the motel made the decision that they did not want Mr. Lawyer to stay there, based on community sentiment.  The Longmont Police Department, as wells as the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and Boulder Police Department have all had many conversations with State officials regarding all aspects of Mr. Lawyer’s situation.  The local law enforcement agency does not decide who can and can’t register/move into their community.

3.  Is this individual required to seek counseling while he is staying at the homeless shelter?  I assume this individual has a parole officer; at what frequency is this individual required to check in with his parole officer?  Where is his parole officer stationed?
Mr. Lawyer does have a parole officer and we will check on his requirements he has as a parolee, including counseling.

4.   Is this individual required to be in a day program so that the community knows where this individual is during day hours?  Will anyone be assigned to monitor this individual's movements during the day while he is housed at the Boulder homeless shelter?  Who will reimburse the city of Boulder and Boulder homeless shelter for allowing this individual to stay at no cost to him at the Boulder homeless shelter?  Are our taxpayers required to pay for this individual?
We will check with his parole officer to answer this question. I don’t have information on financial reimbursement from the State, if any, regarding parolees staying at the Shelter.  We will ask Shelter staff this question.

5.   What protections does the community have in making sure that this individual is not a threat to the many school children who attend various schools in our North Boulder neighborhood?   What about other places in our community where the public gathers freely? What protections will be offered to the general public?
We are providing extra patrol in the north Boulder area.  We will check with his parole officer regarding his ankle monitor and other restrictions as a parolee.

I may have additional questions but I would appreciate if we could get answers to the ones posted above.

Greatly appreciate your informing us of this situation.

Thank you


Lisa Morzel
Member, Boulder City Council
303-815-6723 c
303-938-8520 h

On May 2, 2017, at 9:46 AM, Testa, Greg <TESTAG at bouldercolorado.gov<mailto:TESTAG at bouldercolorado.gov>> wrote:
Dear Council Members,

As you may know Christopher Lawyer, a parolee and person who has been identified as a sexually violent predator by the State of Colorado has registered with the police department and indicated he is going to be staying at the Shelter.  Mr. Lawyer was originally arrested for committing crimes in Boulder and convicted in 2001.  He served 16 years in the Department of Corrections and was paroled in 2016 to his mother’s house just east of the city limits in unincorporated Boulder County.  At some point during his stay at his mother’s house he violated the terms of his parole and was rearrested and served six months.

He was recently released and had plans to live in Jamestown.  Mr. Lawyer didn’t move to Jamestown for several reasons, including limited cell service, which is needed for his ankle monitor.  Also, law enforcement response to Jamestown is 30-40 minutes away.   He then had plans to move to Longmont and to stay in a motel.  The motel owner indicated he could not stay due to community concern.

The Boulder Police Department was recently told that Mr. Lawyer would be staying at the Shelter.  We were not involved in the decision making process in this case or in any similar case.  I have been told that the Shelter has “parole beds”, which I was not aware of.  Additionally, Shelter staff has stated that it’s law enforcement’s policy for paroled sex offenders to say at the Shelter rather than  live on the street, because we (law enforcement) know the location where the offender is staying.  I think it’s accurate to say that law enforcement would prefer an offender to be registered and staying at a physical location with an address, in lieu of living on the street or in a vehicle; however, we would prefer that these types of offenders not come to our community in the first place.   I am not aware of any local law enforcement policy regarding this assertion.

The Boulder Police Department has notified our community that Mr. Lawyer has registered and is staying at the Shelter.  We have had many conversations with State officials regarding this matter and have spoken with Shelter staff.  We are continuing to meet and gather information to determine how long Mr. Lawyer will be staying at the Shelter and we are following up on information that he may be moving his parole out of state.

The State of Colorado has specific laws regarding sex offenders and those individuals who have been labeled sexually violent predators (SVP’s), including registering with the local law enforcement agency in the community they are going to reside.  The Boulder Police Department, like other law enforcement agencies, is not consulted in agreeing to allow these offenders to stay in their communities.  We often learn they will reside in our community when they register with us as required by law.

I hope this information helps to understand this situation better.

Sincerely, Greg
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