John Borrelli's daughter recognizes Mark Gurries, a registered sex offender, volunteering at a San Jose church festival and notifies security. Gurries produced a church letter saying he had permission. Deputies are investigating the authenticity of that letter. George Kiriyama reports.
About 50 parents gathered Thursday night at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic in San Jose, mostly to vent their concern and fear that a registered sex offender had been volunteering at a parish festival last month.
That offender, Mark Gurries, 51, was dismissed by the San Jose Diocese as a volunteer earlier in the day, after the Mercury News first broke, and then other news organizations, including NBC Bay Area ,reported on the story.
John Borrelli spoke to NBC Bay Area on Thursday after the meeting to say his daughter recognized Gurries volunteering at the Oct. 6 festival because she is friend's with Gurries' original victim.
His daughter said, "Dad, what's he doing here?" Borrelli said, adding that he then went to security, which happened to be a Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy, to report it.
Gurries was convicted in February 2010 on one count of a lewd and lascivious act on a child younger than 14. That child, who is now a young woman, is friends with Borrelli's daughter, which is how she recognized Gurries.
Court records obtained by the Mercury News show that the District Attorney's Office reached a deal with Gurries after he was originally charged with six counts of child molestation, from acts that allegedly occurred a decade ago. The victim wouldn't testify and Gurries was only convicted of one count, and was sentenced to one year in county jail.
But Sgt. Jose Cardoza said the deputy did not arrest Gurries, who is a registered sex offender on the Megan's law database. That is because state law allows sex offenders to work near a school if they have the written permission of the chief administrator of the school.
In this case, Gurries provided the deputy such a letter, which was typewritten and on church stationary. Authorities are now investigating the validity of the letter, and have not said who signed it. The Mercury News reported that the priest at the church denied ever writing it.
Gurries did not respond to calls seeking comment on Thursday.