A sex offender was sentenced this month in one of the more frightening criminal plans. Patrick James Fredericksen, 31, pleaded no contest to charges that he stole a school bus in Emery County, Utah and tried to pick up children.
Fredericksen pleaded guilty to attempted child kidnapping, reduced to a second-degree felony, as well as three counts of theft, including two second-degree felonies and one third-degree felony. In exchange for the plea, the prosecutor recommended concurrent sentencing and Seventh District Judge Douglas Thomas sentenced him to one to 15 years in prison, with two identical terms and a term of zero to five years to be served concurrently.
Fredericksen was paroled from the Utah State Prison in August 2013 following convictions for unlawful sexual activity with a minor, impersonating a police officer, forgery, theft, possession of an altered prescription, and criminal mischief.
On this occasion, people reported in April 2015 that a slow-moving, suspicious school bus driving through Emery County. Police had received reports of a suspicious man in the area matching the same description.
What is particularly chilling is that, when he stole the bus, Fredericksen found a list of names and directions for students who rode the bus and tried to pick one child up at her home. He also asked for directions to a second child’s home. The thought of a sex offender seeking your child by name and address is nothing short of a nightmare for any parent. Given the possibility (while remote) of as little as one year in jail and the strong evidence, it is somewhat surprising to see the plea. However, such offenses normally run concurrently and the prosecutors secured pleas on all major crimes (some of which might not have been secured in a final verdict). They appear to have traded away just a misdemeanor charge. As unnerving as it may be to even contemplate such a recidivist being released in a year, the assumption is that no rational board would support such a release.
I have previously discussed with parents the strange fact that we protect our children so aggressively from various dangers but stand by as perfect strangers drive away with them every morning. Fredericksen seems to have seen the same disconnect.