A convicted sex offender who has been ordered to stay out of all Richland parks allegedly was caught May 22 in Chamna Natural Preserve.
Thomas C. Dean, 27, pleaded innocent Thursday in Benton County Superior Court to one felony count of criminal trespass against children.
The West Richland man was convicted in Benton County in 2003 of attempted indecent liberties.
Benton County’s registry shows Dean is classified as a Level 3 sex offender, meaning he is considered to have a high risk to reoffend.
In June 2012, Dean was given a “notice of exclusion” signed by Doug Strong, Richland’s parks and recreation director. Dean was told he was prohibited from entering any Richland park because of his conviction.
Dean refused to sign the document, according to court documents.
He told Dianne McCants, who handles sex offender registration for the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, that he understood the order but he did not agree with it, documents said.
When contacted by Richland police Officer Brandon Koe in the natural preserve, Dean claimed he had been in the park walking on a trail, documents said.
Chamna Natural Preserve is a park operated by the city of Richland.
Dean’s trial is set for Sept. 28. In the meantime, Dean is out of custody on his personal recognizance.