Registered sex offender returns to court
RIFLE ” Dressed in a bright red, high-security prison uniform, Loy Dean Vondette, 43, made an appearance in Garfield County District Court Wednesday afternoon to hear the charges being filed against him in at least one of his criminal cases.
A convicted sex offender, Vondette is no stranger to the courtroom. He was convicted of two cases of sexual assault in 1993 in Garfield County and served six years in prison.
His most recent charges stem from an incident in Rifle that occurred on July 30, when he allegedly tried to coax two young girls into his car, and a harassment case in Eagle on Aug. 4, when he allegedly asked a police officer’s wife to have sex with him. He was out on a $25,000 bond for the Rifle incident at the time.
Vondette was arrested again on Aug. 10 by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and remains in jail on a $100,000 bond.
The hearing on the charges against Vondette Wednesday afternoon were not open to the public and calls to Assistant District Attorney Vince Felletter were not immediately returned. Vondette is scheduled for an arraignment hearing Thursday morning on a separate case.
The fact that Vondette was released back into the community without any public notification has many citizens outraged.
“Why can’t the police let us know he’s in our neighborhood?” asked Rae Ann Bartels, a parent in the Palomino Park subdivision where the latest Rifle incident occurred. “It would have taken two minutes for (the police) to call. I think, as a community, we have every right to know.”
Because Vondette doesn’t live within city limits, he is also not registered as a sex offender with the Rifle Police Department. But he is registered with Garfield County.
Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson pointed out that while the laws require sex offenders to register wherever they live, they are also provided some level of protection.
“The great debate is when do you reach that threshold of people’s need to know versus public safety purposes?” Wilson said. “We all have our opinions on how we want it to go, but it’s up to the lawmakers in Denver. They don’t ask us if we like the law ” we’re merely informed and apply it as written.”
Citizens are allowed to obtain a list of the sex offenders residing in their communities by going to their local law enforcement agencies and making a request. The process typically requires signing a form and providing a current driver’s license.
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