A temporary injunction has blocked the sheriff’s office from releasing the name of at least one person to Kelso sex-offender vigilante Curtis Hart, who has asked for the names of all level 1 sex offenders.
The injunction was filed Sept. 7, the day a Daily News article reported on Hart’s request for the names of all 570 level 1 sex offenders in Cowlitz County. That information, which includes names, pictures, and brief descriptions of offenses, is scheduled to be released Sept. 19 if the offenders themselves raise no objections in court.
The injunction was the only one filed as of Thursday evening according to the Superior Court Clerk’s office. It was filed by an offender representing himself pro se (without a lawyer).
On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Michael Evans wrote a temporary injunction barring the sheriff’s office from releasing the man’s records. The injunction request will be heard by the court on Sept. 19.
The names of the other 569 offenders are still on track to be released on Sept. 19, Cowlitz County Undersheriff Corey Huffine said.
The offender seeking the injunction told the court he would fear for his life if his information was released.
(The Daily News is not naming the man, because doing so would, in effect, defeat the purpose of the injunction.)
“I have followed all the laws and have tried to become a model citizen. With the release of this information I will have no place to live my life without constant harassment and fear of unknown people doing harm to me,” he wrote in his injunction request. “I throw myself on the mercy of the court. Do not release my information.”
Information about the man’s crime was not available Friday, and he declined to comment to a reporter.
Hart called the motion for injunction “ignorant of case law” and said he has filed a 45-page response.
In it, he cited a 2016 State Supreme Court decision ruling that a Franklin County woman could receive the names of more than 21,000 sex offenders across Washington State. That woman, Donna Zink, later posted a spreadsheet of all the names online.
Hart said last week he was driven to request the names after the subject of one of his child sex sting operations received only community service and no jail time after pleading guilty to sending sexually explicit pictures of himself to a girl he believed was 10 years od.
He said he only plans to publish the names of “actual predators” and doesn’t advocate violence. But offenders whose names could be released by his request have expressed concern that they or their families could be targeted.
Hart said he has received a death threat himself after announcing plans to publish the list.
Huffine said he’s personally spoken to more than 400 of the people affected by Hart’s request. For the last two weeks, he said, he’s spent almost all of his time working on fulfilling the request.
Level 1 sex offenders “present the lowest risk for re-offense to the community at large,” according to the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center.
They “normally have not exhibited predatory type characteristics, most have successfully participated or are participating in approved sex offender treatment programs, (and) many are first time offenders,” according to the Resource Center.
Under state law, only level 2 and level 3 (medium and high-risk) offenders are published on the sheriff’s office offender registry website. Except for out-of-compliance and transient offenders, level 1 sex offenders are omitted.