Man Who Admitted to Fondling Children Released for Treatment
Lavertu, 23, Will Be Taken Care of by Family, Therapy and Education

By Pamela Dickman
The Reporter-Herald
November 6, 2007

FORT COLLINS — Paul John Lavertu walked free from the Larimer County Detention Center on Tuesday after serving 35 days for fondling children at church functions.

Judge Dave Williams sentenced the 23-year-old Windsor man, whose family and attorney said has the mind of a child, to the time he had already served and to 15 years of probation with intensive supervision and sex offender treatment.

He was sentenced Tuesday in 8th Judicial District Court.

Lavertu lives in Windsor with his parents but attended Gateway Baptist Church in Loveland.

At church functions in 2006 and 2007, he inappropriately touched five boys and girls, one whose parents have sued Lavertu, the church and three pastors of the church.

Authorities also have charged those pastors with failing to report the abuse — an accusation they have denied.

While he is generally a well-liked and helpful young man, Lavertu has urges he does not understand and cannot control, said Deputy District Attorney Andrew Lewis.

"He gets these urges or temptations and he just can't stop himself, and that scares me," Lewis said. "That part is real scary, and why treatment is needed."

Lavertu's parents, who spoke in court Tuesday, said they were unaware of his problems before his arrest, but now that they are, have worked hard to help their son. They have scheduled group and individual therapy to start today, have a job and education plan for their son and have enrolled themselves in a chaperone class.

"We are in this for the long haul and have no intention of giving up on Paul," his mother told the judge shortly before he sentenced her son.

Williams could have sentenced Lavertu to two years in jail, but opted for time served after hearing from Lavertu's parents and close friends about the planned treatment. Their "refreshing" attitude of "this is what we are going to do" influenced the sentence, Williams said.

Lavertu admitted his actions and pleaded guilty Oct. 3 to attempted sexual assault on a child, a felony, and unlawful sexual contact, a misdemeanor. He also had turned himself into Fort Collins police in June at the advice of pastors at his church after they learned about the abuse.

After he visited with police but before his arrest, he asked another boy to sit on his lap then brushed his hand over the front of the boys jeans, according to defense attorney Daniel Quinn.

The grandmother of that child wrote a letter to the judge, saying that Lavertu needs to be treated like a first-grader and taught again and again that his actions were wrong and how to behave — a plan his parents will follow, Quinn said.

Another victim's parent contacted Lewis and said, "We do not feel he needs jail time but do believe the public needs to be protected from him."


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