Pittsfield assisted living facility head says he didn't know sex offender was living there
PITTSFIELD -- The owner of the assisted living facility where a Level 3 sex offender had been living said he had no idea the man was an offender who had allegedly failed to register with local police.
Chris Chojnowski, president of the Rosewood Homestyle Assisted Living facility on Onota Street, told The Eagle that 59-year-old Thomas Dewey, who was arrested last Thursday by Pittsfield Police, was referred to him by Elder Services of Berkshire County. Dewey had been living at the assisted living facility for about a month, police said.
Rosewood is a small, 25-resident assisted living facility, not a nursing home as The Eagle had previously reported, Chojnowski said.
John Lutz, the executive director of Elder Services of Berkshire County, said he couldn't speak about any matters related to a specific client. But Lutz did say that, in general, information such as a person's sex offender status would not "be on our radar."
Elder Services, funded by state and federal money, provides services for the elderly such as Meals on Wheels, Lutz said. But mostly, it connects people in need of services with the agencies that provide them.
Chojnowski said the facility "had no reason to believe there were any problems" with Dewey coming to live there. It was discovered later he was a Level 3 sex offender.
"When Rosewood learned of Mr. Dewey's situation we instituted 15-minute checks on Mr. Dewey and called the proper authorities," he said. "At no time were any of our residents', employees' or visitors' safety compromised."
Dewey voluntarily agreed to leave Rosewood and is no longer a resident, said Chojnowski.
On Friday, Dewey's address was listed as Rosewood on the state sex offender registry. But as of Monday, Dewey was listed as living at an address in Lenox.
Pittsfield Police began looking into Dewey's living arrangements in January after it was alleged he had been residing in the city without notifying police. As a registered sex offender, Dewey is required by law to notify local police and the state Sex Offender Registry Board where he is living and when he has moved.
Dewey's last known address had been in the West Springfield area, according to a police report. Police said Dewey misled them when they inquired about his living arrangements.
He has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of failure to register as a sex offender in Central Berkshire District Court. Dewey is free on personal recognizance and is expected back in court March 18.
His court-appointed lawyer, Dean R. Manuel, did not immediately return a phone call on Monday.
Dewey is considered by the state to be at a "high risk" to re-offend. He was convicted in 1995 of child rape with force and indecent assault and battery on a person under 14.
He has various medical ailments and is listed on the police report as being disabled.
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