Monday, February 04, 2008

Police: Level 3 Sex Offender Molests Boy At Library

A Level 3 sex offender was arrested after police said he molested a 6-year-old boy in the children's room of the New Bedford Public Library.

Corey Deen Saunders, 26, of 15 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, was charged with indecent assault and battery on a child under 14; rape of a child under 16 (second offense); and enticing a child under 16.

Police said Saunders fondled and performed oral sex on the boy in a secluded corner of the library. A librarian later saw the child with the man, and found his picture online and an article about his past. The child's mother was working on a computer in another part of the library.

Police arrested Saunders a short time later near the library.

Saunders is being held at the Bristol County House of Corrections pending a dangerousness hearing on Feb. 7.

Saunders moved back to New Bedford a few weeks ago, and was registered as a Level 3 sex offender with the city. Level 3 is the most serious sex offender designation and is given to offenders considered most likely to reoffend.

Police said they are outraged that Saunders was allowed in public, saying a Bristol County judge was warned by psychologists that Saunders posed a serious danger if he was released from prison.

"I believe that sexually dangerous people should be held at the exit doors of the courthouse, not at the front doors of the library," New Bedford Police Chief Ronald Teachman said.

"I am disgusted by the facts that he was able to be among the public on the streets. He never should have been released. I think it is a travesty of justice," said New Bedford police Lt. Jeffrey Silva.

Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter released a written statement saying he could not comment on the judge's decision.
"It is a tragedy that this took place. This incident dramatizes exactly why we have a Sexually Dangerous Persons protocol. I can not, however, comment on what the Superior Court Judge did because I was not involved in that case nor was my administration in any way. It would be inappropriate for me to comment. I'm sure there will be times when I feel the need to comment on a judicial decision that leads to adverse consequences. This is not one off them," Sutter's statement said.

There are 50 Level 3 sex offenders registered in New Bedford.

"The issue here is whether Corey Saunders should have been allowed out in society and been allowed at that library last night or anywhere children are," Silva said.

Saunders has been in Department of Social Services custody since he was 12, and was removed from two facilities after officials said other children were at risk, according to the New Bedford Standard Times.

When Saunders was 17, he was placed in a foster home in Attleboro, where within seven hours of arriving he was arrested on charges of assault with intent to rape; indecent assault and battery on a child under 14; and attempting to commit unnatural intercourse, the paper said.

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