Case spurs interest in sex-offender registries

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In the past week, the Routt County Sheriff's Office has fielded as many requests to view the list of registered sex offenders as it had seen in the past year, records custodian Elise Bennett said.

The search and subsequent arrest for convicted sex offender and former Hayden resident John Tuggle is largely responsible for the increase in interest.

In his former hometown, parents said they wanted to see the list, to know what other sex offenders might be living in their midst. Still, many people don't know registries exist, Bennett said.

With two grandchildren in Hayden, town resident Pam O'Connor planned to view lists of Routt County sex offenders, available at the Routt County Sheriff's Office and local police departments.

Parent Shanda Sullins said she found out from a friend that the list was available.

"I think it's extremely important for anybody with children -- or anybody -- to see," she said.

But parent Tina Frentress, who sat nearby in the shade, wasn't so sure she wanted to know about any sex offenders in Hayden.

"It's almost worse to know -- there's not much you can do," she said.

Convicted sex offenders are required to register in the county or cities where they live. Twenty sex offenders are registered with the Sheriff's Office and the Steamboat Springs, Oak Creek and Hayden police departments.

The Sheriff's Office has information about nine offenders, including John Tuggle, who live in the county or are serving time in the Routt County Jail.

There are three registered sex offenders living in Hayden, Hayden police Chief Jody Lenahan said.

The registries include the name, address, date and type of conviction, and photo of each offender.

To view the registry, residents must have a "need to know" reason for wanting the information. Living within the county is sufficient reason, Bennett said.

Residents also must sign a document promising not to retaliate against any registered sex offenders.

Within two weeks of a person registering, the Sheriff's Office goes to the person's home to verify they are living there.

Information in the registry is updated annually and sometimes quarterly, Bennett said.

Anyone with questions about the sex offender registry can call Bennett at 870-5527.

Residents who want to view information about registered sex offenders in Hayden should call Lenahan at 276-3741.

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