A convicted sex offender who used his position as a Girl Scout leader to sexually assault young girls now is living in Benton County.
John D. Babcock, 60, was released Tuesday as an untreated transient sex offender, said Benton County sheriff's officials. He does not have a permanent address, but is required to check in weekly at the sheriff's office.
Babcock is a Level 3 sex offender, meaning he is considered by law enforcement officials as highly likely to reoffend. He also identifies himself as transgender and uses the name Sarah Babcock.
He did not participate in a sex offender treatment program offered by the state Department of Corrections while he was in prison, said Dianne McCants, who handles the sex offender registrations for the sheriff's office.
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Babcock was arrested in 1992 in King County after being accused of luring his victims into "truth or dare," "strip poker" and other games culminating in nudity and sexual acts, according to the Seattle Times.
He also was accused of having two of his Scouts fondle him while on a field trip to his key shop, the newspaper said.
Babcock was convicted in 1997 of 13 counts of indecent liberties, two counts of attempted indecent liberties and one count of first-degree statutory rape. The offenses were connected to seven victims -- six young girls and one young boy -- and occurred from 1986-88.
He was sentenced to 28 years in prison. He was released Tuesday from the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla after serving about 20 years, according to DOC officials.
McCants told the Herald that Babcock originally had been approved by DOC to move to a home in Richland, but the person he was going to live with didn't realize state law required a public notification to the neighborhood.
The resident didn't want to have the neighborhood notified that a Level 3 sex offender was living in the home, which left Babcock with nowhere to live.
It was his choice to stay in Benton County, McCants said. Because Babcock does not have any community supervision requirements through DOC, he has the right to live where he chooses, even if he doesn't have a permanent place to stay, she said.
As a transient sex offender, Babcock is required to check in with the sheriff's office weekly and provide a list of addresses or locations where he has stayed the previous week.
Sheriff's officials follow up on the information and try to verify it the best they can, McCants said. Benton County currently has about 20 transient sex offenders that they monitor.
Babcock is 5-foot-4, 185 pounds, with blond hair, blue eyes and has used the aliases John Wilkinson and John Bobcock.
Information about Babcock and other registered sex offenders in Benton County can be accessed online at www.co.benton.wa.us. Go to elected officials/departments, click on sheriff, then click on the link for sex offender information.