Sex offender returns to Corvallis

CORVALLIS — A man convicted of sexually abusing one 13-year-old girl and attempting to kidnap another has been returned to Benton County, housed in a county apartment and monitored by a television camera and sheriff's deputies.

The man who prosecuted him says he "one of the most dangerous people I've ever convicted" and poses a high risk to re-offend again.

When former Benton County District Attorney Pete Sandrock left office in 1999, he left a foot-thick file on the man.

"I said, 'Don't ever get rid of this file. This guy's coming back,'" Sandrock said.

Late last month Roger Matthew Walters, 64, came home to Benton County.

Walters was first convicted in 1980 of sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl in Lincoln County. That charge was reduced from first-degree rape. He served five years in prison.

In 1995, Walters was sentenced in Benton County Circuit Court to 30 years after conviction of the attempted kidnapping of a 13-year-old Corvallis girl in 1987.

Two additional charges were overturned on appeal, cutting a 60-year sentence in half.

Walters' conviction for the crime in Benton County was before mandatory minimum sentencing. He had been in prison since his arrest in 1987 and was eligible for parole in 2002, but parole was regularly denied.

But under a quirk of the law at the time if the board had held Walters past 2009, he would have received no post-prison supervision.

A spokeswoman for the board said it chose to release Walters during his most recent hearing to keep him under supervision until late 2020.

Benton County Sheriff Diana Simpson, who oversees the parole and probation office, decided to house Walters at the department's Transition Center, a two-apartment building that houses parolees.

"We'll provide the maximum supervision possible for Mr. Walters for the foreseeable future," said parole and probation officer Gail Newman.

Walters is under a 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfew, Newman said.

Police reports say he violated it on his first day back by leaving the apartment just after 8 p.m. Walters said he was taking out the trash.

Newman said Walters spent four days in jail for the violation.

Both cases involving the 13-year-olds were similar and Sandrock said the victims, both petite blondes, were similar-looking.

On Aug. 1, 1987, Walters approached one victim at a Corvallis garage sale and offered money to help him find a lost dog. She refused. He offered to drive her home and she also refused.

She rode her bike home and her mother called the police after Walters followed the girl home and stopped, ostensibly to look at items for sale in her family's yard.

Walters had been released from an Oregon prison a few months earlier and was under post-prison supervision as a predatory sex offender.

Sandrock, now the assistant director of the Portland Independent Police Review Board, said he rarely sounds the alarm about prisoner releases without good reason.

"One of the reasons that he continues to have a high risk of re-offending is that he never accepts responsibility for his actions," Sandrock said.

On parole Walters must not consume alcohol or drugs, must adhere to the curfew, undergo psychological treatment and attend a class on obtaining gainful employment.

He has not yet been cleared to search for work.

Benton County has to take him back under a law that states that an offender must return to the prosecuting county, unless another arrangement is approved.

Sandrock said he is confident Benton County parole officers will supervise him as closely as possible.

"We know that no amount of supervision is ever a guarantee, but these are the risks we take as a civil society," Sandrock said.

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