PHOENIX — A man convicted of molesting a young girl is a registered sex offender, but the public wouldn't know that. He served 10 years in prison but is not part of the statewide sex offender registry.
Timothy King was convicted of child molestation and two counts of attempted child molestation. He was assessed upon release from prison and deemed a Level One sex offender, the lowest possible designation for those whose crimes are considered the least severe.
The assessment form used to categorize King as Level One is used across the state and looks at 19 different factors to determine how likely the sex offender is to hurt someone else.
The higher the total assessment score, the higher the level.
One of the most striking factors considered is the gender of the victim. If the victim is a girl, the sex offender gets zero points added to their score. But if the victim is a boy, the sex offender gets three points added.
If victims are both male and female, five points are added.
King's final assessment has not been provided to 12News, but his victim was a girl, making his risk assessment score lower than if he had molested a boy.
The assessment form has been effective in Arizona at least since 2002.
Victim's mother demands change
It will always be painful for Dawn King to talk about.
“It's in your own house under your own roof," said Dawn King. “That breaks a person, breaks their soul.”
In 2009, Dawn learned her daughter was molested by her then-husband, Timothy King.
“When your baby comes to you and said someone you care about or someone you've trusted all this time is hurting me," Dawn said.
Timothy King agreed to a plea deal and was sentenced to ten years in prison, lifetime probation and would have to register as a sex offender upon release.
“Mandatory sex offender terms so that no other mom ever had to worry about meeting him and having their child abused," Dawn said.
King is now out of prison and living in Navajo County, but when Dawn searched Arizona's sex offender registry, he was nowhere to be found.
“How in the world did this happen?” Dawn said.
It turns out, King is registered as a sex offender, but he was designated Level One, and a DPS spokesman said he did not have to be listed on the public database.
"An Attorney General review determined he does not meet the criteria for publication on the website," said Raul Garcia, a DPS public information officer.
12News asked Navajo County Sheriff's officials how King obtained Level One status. A spokesperson directed us to DPS. DPS pointed 12News to the attorney general's office.
"Although we provide advice on whether underlying convictions meet the statutory requirements, it's ultimately up to DPS to make that call," said an attorney general spokesperson.
12News then checked with Arizona's Department of Corrections.
"The sex offender level for this inmate was determined by Maricopa County Probation in accordance with DPS and sex offender registration laws. Since this inmate was released to Maricopa County Probation, we would advise you to reach out to them for your requested information," said a department of corrections spokesperson.
After turning to yet another agency, 12News turned to Maricopa County Probation.
"The individual you inquired about resides in Navajo County," said Timothy Tait, Director of Communications for the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County. "The Navajo County Sheriff's Office established his sex offender classification based on a screening instrument and completes any notifications required under state law."
Finally, 12News returned to Navajo County, where a sheriff's spokesperson stated they used the assessment form to classify King as a Level One sex offender.
“That makes no sense to me as a parent or even as a woman. I don't want to have to worry that when I walk outside, I'm gonna run across someone like him," Dawn said.
Timothy King, who now works as a truck driver, has applied to modify his probation to travel out of state without checking with his probation officer.
In court filings, his attorney wrote, “King has complied with all terms, attends all classes asked of him, remains sober, has incurred no probation violations, has had no petitions to revoke filed against him.”
King's request has been denied.
Dawn said she is relieved but is concerned he will apply again. She said she won't back down from her fight until she gets answers.
“We need to hold the probation department of Arizona, Maricopa County, they all need to be held accountable," Dawn said.
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