Parole officials denounce California cops for shipping sex offender

RENO - Some Nevada parole officials on Wednesday accused police in Monrovia, Calif., of shunning their responsibility by shipping a convicted child molester back to Reno with a one-way plane ticket.

And they stressed that Aramis Linares, a Cuban national who was run out of the Los Angeles suburb last week by angry residents, had been freed from custody by a federal judge - not state authorities in Nevada.

''It's upsetting that a community can pool their money and law enforcement can send a sex offender to another state because they don't want the responsibility of having to protect their community,'' said David Smith, a Nevada Parole board analyst.

''Nevada doesn't own him,'' Smith said of Linares. ''He's not on parole. He's free to go wherever he wants as long as he stays in contact with INS.''

Linares, 49, was living with relatives in Monrovia but protesters complained and helped raise $700 to get rid of him. Monrovia police put him on a plane to Reno, where he was found last Thursday.

At the time, Monrovia Police Chief Joseph Santoro said Linares committed his crimes in Nevada and that made him Nevada's problem.

Richard Wyatt, chairman of the Nevada Parole Board, shared Smith's criticism and took exception to Santoro's comment.

''Why should Nevada bear the brunt and risk of a high-level sex offender because California doesn't want him in their neighborhood?''

Linares, who authorities said had previous convictions in California and Nevada, was convicted of lewdness with a child younger than 14 in 1992 and sent to the Nevada State Prison.

He was discharged after completing his sentence May 5, 1997, but taken into immediate custody by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Lois Chappell, officer in charge of the INS office in Reno, said Linares, who had been in the United States legally, was ordered deported because of his convictions.

But because the United States doesn't have an agreement with Cuba to return citizens to that country, there was no place for Linares to go and he remained in federal custody in Las Vegas, she said.

Then in April, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the INS has no right to indefinitely detain aliens who cannot be removed to their native lands, Chappell said.

Based on that ruling, Linares filed a federal petition for release, which was granted by Chief U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben last month.

''We had to release him,'' Chappell said, ''although it was the opinion of other officers that he was a danger to the community.''

Linares, who is living in Reno with friends, registered with police as a sex offender as required by law and notified the INS of his whereabouts, authorities said.

''He's looking for a stable place to stay but it's obviously difficult for him,'' Deputy Reno Police Chief Jim Weston said.

Weston said detectives know where he is living but that information would not be released to the public at least until the state Department of Parole and Probation completes an assessment on Linares' risk as a repeat offender.

After being served with the department's evaluation, Linares will have 10 days to appeal.

Under Nevada law, convicted sex offenders are rated on a three-tier scale that dictates who police must notify when an offender moves into an area.

Tier 1 offenders are considered a low risk of committing repeat offenses. In those cases, police only notify other law enforcement agencies. For offenders labeled Tier 2, police also notify nearby schools, religious organizations and businesses that cater to children.

With Tier 3 offenders, who are considered a high risk, police also notify community groups and people in neighborhoods likely to encounter the offender.


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