Forged letters sent to Missoula sex offenders in attorney's name

2011-12-07T05:45:00Z Forged letters sent to Missoula sex offenders in attorney's nameBy GWEN FLORIO of the Missoulian missoulian.com
December 07, 2011 5:45 am  • 

Ever hear of Montanans for Family Safety? What about Women for Justice?

Neither has attorney Leslae Dalpiaz - and she allegedly heads both groups.

Four letters from one or another of the purported groups, under Dalpiaz's name, were sent recently to sexual or violent offenders in the Missoula area.

The letters warned the recipients - all of whom have long since completed their sentences - that they're being watched.

"Your case has been selected for intense civilian monitoring of your probationary rules compliance," read a letter to one man. " ... You are officially notified that during the next twelve months, you may be followed, photographed or otherwise checked for compliance with your sentence."

Another man was warned that his vehicles "may be subject to portable GPS tracking devices" and added, "Considering your record, you have no one to blame but yourself for your deviant behavior."

Any violations would be reported to police, the letters said.

Dalpiaz didn't write them. And the organizations appear not to exist. They don't show up in Google searches. Neither is listed by the Montana Nonprofit Association or Guidestar, the national group that tracks nonprofits.

"I am clueless as to who this would be," Dalpiaz said Tuesday of whomever is writing the letters. "It requires someone with a fairly diabolical mind, but fairly savvy."

It's possible they're fledgling grassroots organizations, said Missoula Police Detective Jamie Merifield, who's investigating the situation. "You assume everything's available online, but maybe they're just getting some steam."

Dalpiaz said she first heard about the letters when the wife of one of the recipients contacted her, upset about the letter he'd just received. Then another wife, who'd gotten a similar letter, showed up at her office.

"It was very hurtful ... just over the top," that woman said of the letter addressed to her husband, whose offense was committed nine years ago. "It was just out of left field. Right away, we knew there was something wrong."

The letter was formatted and folded incorrectly, said the woman, whose name is being withheld by the Missoulian.

While that letter listed Dalpiaz's office address, it included her home telephone number. Other letters included her home address.

"In our age, anybody's personal information is out there, but to put her address and name on inflammatory letters is disturbing," said Merifield.

Police consider the situation suspicious and are investigating it as a possible stalking case, Merifield said.

"We don't know if someone's trying to target her (Dalpiaz) or target the offenders," she said.

The situation is even more mystifying because Dalpiaz specializes in labor law.

"I represent injured workers for a living. I'm not like a family law person where the other side is pissed at you," she said.

As to those who were targeted by the letters, she said, "they're all very reformed criminals ... leading very sedate, non-crime-driven lives. I feel sorry for them, too."

One man's offense dates to 1987.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Merifield at the Missoula Police Department, 552-6300. Or to give anonymous information, call Crime Stoppers at 721-4444.

Reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, gwen.florio@missoulian.com or CopsAndCourts.com.

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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