News

Sex offender leaves town

A Level 3 sex offender who was supposed to be living in a truck in an Oak Harbor parking lot has moved to another county and may not be back.

Chief Will Reichardt with the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office said 37-year-old registered sex offender John Hartman is staying at a motel in Sedro-Woolley this week. Hartman registered with the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office Monday, as required by law.

“He said he’s not going back to Island County,” Reichardt said. “He said he plans to go to Snohomish after this week ... but he doesn’t have to tell us his plans.”

Like the Island County Sheriff’s Office, Skagit County deemed Hartman a Level 3 sex offender, which means he’s considered a high risk to re-offend. Law enforcement has already notified the Sedro-Woolley community and handed out fliers.

Helen Desmond, the community corrections officer supervising Hartman on Whidbey, said “it is undetermined at this time” whether Hartman will return to Island County.

Island County Sheriff Mike Hawley organized a community meeting in Oak Harbor last Thursday to notify residents about Hartman and another high-risk sex offender who’s moving to the island at the end of the month.

Hartman got out of prison last Thursday and registered at the Island County Sheriff’s Office. He pleaded guilty in Island County Superior in 1999 to indecent liberties without forcible compulsion for molesting a 6-year-old girl at a Clinton home.

Hartman did not have a place to live after getting out of prison. Since he was homeless, state law required him to return to the county where he was last convicted.

At the meeting, Desmond announced that Hartman would be living in a truck parked in the parking lot in front of the Department of Corrections office on Midway Boulevard.

The other Level 3 sex offender, 24-year-old Jared Vandewerfhorst, is scheduled to get out of prison and move to North or Central Whidbey Island July 28. His exact address hasn’t been determined.

Vandewerfhorst pleaded guilty in Lewis County in 1999 to kidnapping in the second degree with sexual motivation and second-degree assault of a child with sexual motivation. He tricked his employer’s 11-year-old son into driving with him to a secluded area, where he assaulted the boy.

Vandewerfhorst returned to prison following a series of violation of his community supervision.

You can reach Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or 675-6611.

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