Call it Karma, but while a third party group has been sending out mailers questioning his primary state Senate opponent's values, state Rep. Randy Baumgardner is dodging scrutiny after media reported that he's housing a convicted sex offender.
Court records show Michael K. Frierson was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender and notify law enforcement for a change of address stemming from 2004 incidents involving a victim under the age of 14 while Frierson was 24. After pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of sexual assault, Frierson was sentenced to five years probation.
Frierson was arrested in April at Baumgardner's house for failing to register as a sex offender and, according to a report by the Denver Post, Baumgardner's wife Lori paid Frierson's $2,000 bond.
He came to us a year and a half ago and has been working on our farm. He’s never been anything but respectful. We took him at his word that he screwed up when he was young, and, you know, most of us do.
Baumgardner is running against state Sen. Jean White for Senate District 8 after getting drawn out of House District 57 during redistricting.
The campaign has been inundated by negative mailers paid for by third parties including Public Advocates of the United States, a conservative group based in Washington D.C. that, among other points, wants to add a federal amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. The Public Advocates' mailer shows two men kissing and attacks White for her support for civil unions.
Since news of Frierson's arrest and place of residence were made public however, Baumgardner -- who also lives with his 7-year-old son -- has been facing criticism beyond mailers. His wife Lori posted the following on her Facebook page on Saturday:
The attacks on our family have continued to grow, now robo calls! How have we come to trying to re-convict someone of a crime via the media! Sad here is a young man trying to make a change in his life for the better gets thrown to the wolves (8 years not even a trafic ticket). Al and Jean White should be ashamed! But what can you expect from a true Democrat. [sic]
In 2011 Baumgardner voted against a bill that rewrote sex offender registration requirements saying he couldn't support changes the Senate had made to the bill.
Frierson is expected to appear in Hot Sulphur Springs court Tuesday.