‘Unacceptable’ Death Threats Allegedly Sent Over Tenino Sex Offender Home, Sheriff Says


State officials and a residential care services company have allegedly received death threats in response to a planned sex offender housing facility near Tenino, Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders said.

In a letter released Monday, Sanders called the threats unacceptable. He said the threats have been delivered over the phone to officials at the Washington State Department of Corrections and the Department of Social and Health Services as well as Supreme Living LLC.

"I empathize with the frustrations of our community; however, threats of violence will not be tolerated and are subject to criminal enforcement," Sanders said.

DSHS and DOC officials previously backed out of a town hall organized by Sanders which occurred Sunday at Tenino High School. At the time, state officials cited unspecified threats for their absence. In response, Sanders said he felt "infuriated and embarrassed" by their decision.

Supreme Living LLC had planned to open the facility on a 15-acre property at 2813 140th Ave. Southwest by Feb. 1. This facility, which is officially called a Less Restrictive Alternative community home, will house up to five clients of DSHS, including sex offenders released from McNeil Island Special Commitment Center.

Locals have protested the planned the facility due to their own safety concerns and called on local government to help them, The Olympian reported.

Thurston County officials are seeking to delay the opening of the facility by enforcing certain code and permitting requirements. Meanwhile, some state legislators have drafted legislation aimed at regulating the placement of such facilities.

In his letter, Sanders said violent threats would be detrimental to the work of local county officials who aim to address residents' concerns.

"Threats to kill, property destruction or any other criminal acts will not solve the issue at hand," Sanders said. "As a community, we have the opportunity to systematically change the current legislation put forth through legal and morally acceptable avenues."

Sanders asked local residents to conduct their opposition in a constructive manner that respects human life and property rights. He added he would share more information on this topic as he receives it.

Rather than attend the Tenino town hall, state officials have opted to host a community webinar on Wednesday from 6-7 p.m. People who wish to attend can register online.

Questions for DSHS and DOC officials may be submitted in advance by emailing SCCQuestions@dshs.wa.gov.

The webinar will be recorded and be available on demand within 48 hours of the session, according to the registration webpage.

The Olympian has asked DSHS to comment on the threats and share additional information about the webinar.