A sex offender with an extensive criminal history and pattern of noncompliance could face civil commitment after he took a job traveling with a carnival to the Clallam and Pacific county fairs.
Pacific County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Philip C. Shelly, 51, of Port Angeles, on Aug. 23 after a citizen tipped off the state Department of Corrections that the convicted child rapist was working for the carnival company.
Lorraine O’Brien, who is supervising Shelly as part of his community custody, said Shelly never asked if he could accept a job with Hayworth Family Shows to work at the carnival.
Shelly pleaded guilty to first-degree rape of a child, a 3-year-old girl, in 1998 and was released from prison in November 2009. He is prohibited from being around children without permission.
Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson said Shelly was taken into custody without incident within an hour of the time O’Brien called and notified them of the violation and warrant for Shelly’s arrest.
Shelly was working the dart booth at the Pacific County Fair and the mirrors booth at the Clallam County Fair, Johnson said. The carnival company does not conduct background checks on employees, claiming they are too expensive, he said.
Sex offender listings, for level two and level three offenders, are available online for free under state law.
Shelly may have been trying to disguise his appearance by shaving off his beard and cutting his hair, he said.
“It looks like he was intentionally trying to find an avenue to be close to small kids and leave Clallam County,” Johnson said.
Prior to his child rape conviction, Shelly had felony convictions in three states including forgery, possession of stolen property and unlawful possession of a firearm, according to court documents.
Shelly was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to child rape in 1998. Upon his release, the state Department of Corrections warned Shelly was an “untreated sex offender” who “presents a significant risk to community safety.”
According to court documents, Shelly refused to participate in sexual deviancy treatment and was twice found to be in possession of pornography depicting images that mirrored his offense. He also was disciplined in prison for assaulting a corrections officer, the DOC reported.
In March 2011, Shelly was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender. He pleaded guilty on June 26, 2011, and was sentenced to four months in jail with credit for time served.
Prosecutors filed a second failure to register as a sex offender charge against Shelly on Sept. 15, 2011.
Shelly, who was listed as homeless at the time, was required to check in with the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesdays but failed to do so twice in two consecutive weeks. The first time he checked in a day late and told deputies he didn’t report as ordered because he had been out picking blackberries, according to an arrest narrative. The second time he reported a day late and said it was because his phone was broken, deputies said.
Shelly pleaded guilty to failure to register as a sex offender April 18, 2012, for the September 2011 offense, and received a jail sentence below the standard range.
Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Deb Kelly recommended a 12-month sentence with 36 months of community custody.
After applying credit for the seven months served and the 84 days of good time accrued by Shelly in jail, he was released from custody on June 22.
Kelly said the second failure to register as a sex offender charge was based on “a highly technical violation.”
She thought one year of custody and extra community custody was a good resolution since a jury might not think his violation was serious enough.
“You’d think these were incredibly easy cases to prove but a lot of times they’re not,” she said.
In an e-mail, Kelly said, “Some jurisdictions would not have prosecuted him on the facts in the prior case … i.e., showing up one day late.”
Kelly said she will review the reports written in regard to his latest violation before deciding whether or not to pursue charges.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Don Wenzl said in January of this year the jail’s good time policy changed, allowing inmates to accrue no more than 10 percent of their sentence in good time.
Under the new policy, Shelly would not have been able to accrue more than 36 days of good time but since his custody began with his arrest in September 2011, the old policy applied.
O’Brien said Shelly has not been easy to supervise.
Shelly cut off his GPS monitoring device in one instance and escaped custody, eventually being arrested in another state, she said.
He will be charged with community custody violations of leaving the county without permission, being with minors on several days, failing to report and changing residences, she said.
Those violations will be addressed through a DOC hearings process and O’Brien is considering seeking civil commitment.
“This guy has done a lot of things that makes him a very dangerous person,” Johnson said. “He’s been a real handful to Department of Correction and law enforcement since his release.”
Johnson said he is thankful for the call from O’Brien so they could prevent Shelly from victimizing anyone else.
Shelly was transported to the Clallam County jail where he remains in custody without bail.
Reach Amanda Winters at firstname.lastname@example.org.