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Auditor: Former Head Of Sex Offender Center Should Not Have Profited From Contract

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

A former superintendent at Washington’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island – which houses the state’s most dangerous sex offenders – should not have profited from a contract that he negotiated when he was a superintendent, the state auditor wrote in a report.

Henry Richards, the former superintendent, was paid $21,321 for work as a subcontractor with the University of Washington, investigators said. The contracts stated that the UW would provide consultation, research and training services to the Special Commitment Center.

The audit said that Richards helped to negotiate and administer contracts with the UW before resigning as superintendent of the Special Commitment Center. The center houses Level 3 sex offenders who have been civilly committed after having served their prison sentences.

Under state law, former state employees cannot work on contracts they negotiated within a year of leaving the state payroll.

Richards resigned in 2009 and, according to the report, five months later went to work as a subcontractor at the university working on the same contracts.

Investigators noted in their report that Richards checked with the state ethics board before doing the work but didn't disclose the extent of his role in negotiating the contract.

In its response to auditors, the Department of Social and Health Services, which oversees the Special Commitment Center, said it would review the case and identify any appropriate changes.