Golden residents advised on sexual offender

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Around 50 Golden residents filled City Hall to receive more information about a convicted sexually violent predator that will be living in the city of Golden during a community meeting on Aug. 28.

Gerald Hurley, 50, was convicted of two counts of sexual assault on a child in 2003. Although police would not discuss Hurley’s case, other media outlets reported his arrest in 2002 when he and his wife were discovered by Jefferson County Human Services to not only be neglecting their six children, but also sexually and physically abusing them.

Although Hurley was released on July 25, 2013 and promptly registered with the Golden Police Department on July 31, Hurley left Jefferson County sometime around Aug. 17 or Aug. 18 to go to Wisconsin where he was picked up by police on an unrelated charge and is currently in custody. When released, Hurley plans to return to Golden, according to Det. Stacey Galbraith of the Golden Police Department.

Police are hoping that when Hurley returns to Golden, he will provide a fixed address instead of registering homeless like he did on July 31. Since Hurley served his full sentence, he is not on any probation or supervision. He is free to go where he pleases including parks, the rec center, libraries, and any school perimeters. Currently, there are no city ordinances banning registered sex offenders from living within certain distances from schools.

Officers said any harassment or violence against Hurley would be against the law, and result in charges.

Many Jeffco health and human services officials were present during the community meeting to educate the public about sexually violent predators, and touched on ways to talk with your children about people like Hurley, and ways to keep them safe. An important myth discussed was the idea that most sex crimes are committed by a stranger. In fact, 90 percent of child sex assault victims know their abusers.

“Don’t be fooled that these crimes are committed by strangers,” said Krislene Lorenz, deputy DA for Jeffco. “These crimes are committed by ones in position of trust with respect to children.”

Further misconceptions about sexually violent predators were discussed such as the myth that convicted sexual offenders against children will only target children, or a specific gender.

“It’s not just children that they are targeting,” said Phil Morris treatment provider and evaluator. “It’s mostly about a crime of opportunity and who they pick is vulnerable.”

Sex offenders are known to “crossover” so they can victimize anyone of any age, of any gender, explained Morris who stated that sexually violent predators, such as Hurley, are three times as likely to commit a new violent crime, and 45 percent likely to commit a new sex crime.

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