An alert St. Johnsbury police officer located another non-compliant sex offender living in a free, state-funded, motel room at the Fairbanks Inn last month.
But Ryan T. McCutcheon, 31, might have avoided the charge if he had a different first name.
That’s according to court documents made public in Caledonia Superior Court this week.
McCutcheon pleaded not guilty on Monday to a misdemeanor charge of failure to comply with the requirements of the Vermont Sex Offender Registry and was released on conditions by Judge Michael J. Harris. Police say McCutcheon, who was convicted in 2009 of felony sexual assault on a victim under 16 years of age, is accused of living at the Fairbanks Inn for months without informing the registry of his change in address.
Caledonia Superior Court
The charge stems from a phone call to the motel on May 2 made by St. Johnsbury Police Ofc. Robert Gerrish.
Ofc. Gerrish was looking for another man with the first name of “Ryan” as part of an investigation into an unrelated case.
Fairbanks Inn owner Dhruva Patel, 41, answered the phone.
“He told me the only ‘Ryan’ he had staying was ‘Ryan McCutcheon,’” wrote Ofc. Gerrish in his affidavit filed in support of the charge. “I knew from prior law enforcement interactions that McCutcheon was a sex offender who was registered in the Lyndonville area.”
Ofc. Gerrish then checked the sex offender registry and found that McCutcheon’s address was still listed in Lyndon. Police said further investigation revealed McCutcheon had been living at the Fairbanks Inn for months without updating his address as required and that the bill for his room was being sent to the Vermont Agency of Human Services Economic Services Division at 280 State Drive in Waterbury.
“Mr. Patel gave me a sworn video statement on body camera stating that Ryan McCutcheon had been staying at the hotel with his wife and children since February 24, 2021, and they had been living there every day,” wrote Ofc. Gerrish in his report. “I located Ryan McCutcheon standing outside (his room)…He stated that he had been living at the hotel for ‘a couple days.’ I asked if he wanted to change that to February and he replied ‘I didn’t realize it had been that long…’”
McCutcheon told police he had called the registry and updated his address. But registry officials told police they had no record of McCutcheon updating his address. If convicted of the new charge pending against him McCutcheon faces a possible sentence of up to two years in prison and a $1,000 fine.
According to St. Johnsbury Police records, McCutcheon’s stay at the Fairbanks Inn has included two interactions with police - in March and April - including one incident involving a baseball bat.
“A neighbor called saying a man with a baseball bat was in an altercation with people at the Fairbanks,” wrote Ofc. Gerrish. “The report states that the hotel manager had taken a bat away from Ryan in that instance.”
The state of Vermont has been funding an expanded motel voucher program for the homeless since the start of the pandemic in 2020. St. Johnsbury officials say police responses to the Fairbanks Inn have increased dramatically since then. The state recently announced changes in the voucher program that will result in many of those living on state aid losing their free motel rooms as of July 1.
In March, state police arrested another Fairbanks Inn guest - convicted Rhode Island sex offender Jermaine Robertson-Haney, 21 - for failing to comply with the requirements of the sex offender registry.
According to his application for a taxpayer-funded public defender, Robertson-Haney was receiving public assistance from the state of Vermont. Robertson-Haney has pleaded not guilty to the charge.