A convicted child molester is reportedly running for a seat on the school board in a Utah town.
Richard Wagner Jones, 67, a registered sex offender who pleaded guilty in 1990 to abusing a child and served five years in prison, is seeking a spot on the Granite Board of Education in Holladay, FOX 13 reported Tuesday. If he gets elected, he won't be allowed to visit the community's schools without supervision. But Jones says parents and children have nothing to fear from him.
Voters “need to know why there is no risk or need for concern on that issue before the election occurs,” Jones told KSL.com.
State law prohibits sex offenders from setting foot inside school buildings, though the school district’s policy allows for them to visit under the authorization and supervision of the school administration.
Granite School Board President Gayleen Gandy said that Jones’ criminal history and the terms of his parole would not necessarily hinder his ability to fulfill board member responsibilities, KSL.com reported. Gandy said there is nothing in the rules that says he can't run..
“Anyone who’d like to run, can register as a candidate,” says Gandy.
Incumbant Don Lofgren told FOX 13 he will not comment on his opponent.
“First time around, four years ago, I made a very specific point not to comment on my opponent,” says Lofgren. “That’s not why I’m running.
Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke said the laws that regulate the sex offender registry have changed since Jones was convicted. Today, offenders convicted of the same crime would be on the sex offender registry for the rest of their lives. But because Jones was convicted before the laws changed, he will be removed from the sex offender registry in 2015.