Sex offender back in jail after church visits

A Level 3 sex offender recently released from state prison was back in jail last week for allegedly violating the terms of his parole.

Nathan Thomas Marion Evans, 28, was taken into custody Nov. 15 by state Department of Corrections officers and booked into the Oak Harbor Jail at about 1:30 p.m., according to community corrections officer Rob Diekman.

Evans allegedly violated the terms of his parole Sunday by attending a church service, a later Bible class, and a Thanksgiving dinner at Concordia Lutheran Church in Oak Harbor because children were present at the functions.

According to an email from the church’s pastor to congregation members, church officials saw Evans at the events and notified the authorities the following day. The letter stated that an investigator came to the church and interviewed several officials, including Pastor Juan Palm, before taking Evans into custody.

“The friendly and engaging personality of our congregation made it so that Mr. Evans always was with adult members of our congregation,” Palm wrote. “The quick action by our members appears to have taken care of the situation before any real trouble could arise.”

Diekman said Evans’ arrest did not breach his constitutional right to freedom of religion. Sex offenders are allowed to go to church but they must first go through a process to identify and designate an official chaperone. That person must be approved by a parole officer and Evans never went through the process, he said.

“It’s not that they can’t go but there is a stringent and thorough process to go through,” Diekman said.

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks agreed, saying requiring a chaperone does not infringe on his rights.

“He can still practice,” he said. “It’s not an unreasonable burden.”

According to a Nov. 10 news release, Evans was sentenced to 29 months in a state prison after he “forcibly engaged” a 12-year-old girl in sexual intercourse in 2001 in Whatcom County and for two other felony charges. He was released in 2003 for those crimes but was released again for other non-related charges Nov. 12.

Evans has a criminal history in Washington that stretches back to 1995 when he was convicted of seven felony forgery charges. In 1999, he was convicted of taking a motor vehicle without permission, and for forgery again in 1999. He was convicted of robbery in the second degree the same year, and with two counts of possession of stolen property in 2001.

In 2004, he was convicted of nine gross misdemeanors for attempting to elude police, and in 2007 he was charged with a misdemeanor for failing to register as a sex offender but was not convicted. The following year in Arizona however, he received a felony conviction for the crime.

According to Diekman, Evans will not go back to prison but could serve up to 60 days in jail. The length of time will be determined at a department of corrections hearing in the next few weeks. Regardless of the time he serves, he will be required to be GPS monitored for 30 days upon his release.

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