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Freed Child Molester Settles In Uneasily on the Edge of Soledad

August 14, 2003|From Associated Press

SOLEDAD, Calif. — Serial child molester Brian DeVries said his first hours of freedom were amazing, despite the community outrage surrounding his new home -- a small, white trailer tucked between a medium-security prison and busy U.S. Highway 101.

DeVries, the state's first sexually violent predator to be released under a 7-year-old treatment program, promised to lie low and not interact with residents of this Monterey County town galled that he had landed in their midst.

"I'm going to do my best not to interfere with their community," DeVries said in an interview Wednesday. "They're not going to see me in their theaters. They're not going to see me in their coffee shops. They're not going to see me in their town."

Instead, residents saw his mug shot on posters that plastered the town.

DeVries added that he hoped to complete the outpatient part of his treatment program and return home to Washington state.

"I'm just using their piece of land as a place to lay my head down," he said.

DeVries, 44, molested at least nine boys in New Hampshire, Florida and San Jose before serving his last four-year prison term. He was castrated in August 2001 -- a surgery DeVries said took away his ability to become sexually aroused.

He completed the sexually violent predator program more than a year ago at Atascadero State Hospital, where he had been locked up for treatment since 1997.

In February, a judge agreed that DeVries was ready for the program's final phase -- treatment in the community.

On Tuesday evening, officials at Atascadero gave him about 15 minutes to prepare for his release after a Santa Clara County judge ordered him freed by week's end.

"I was just buzzing," DeVries said by telephone. Corrections Department officials would not let reporters visit his trailer and the access road was blocked.

Soledad area residents were hardly thrilled. They said they didn't want DeVries here, and news of his arrival was splashed across the front pages of local newspapers and the talk of this town about 90 miles south of San Jose.

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