Buena Vista University had no knowledge of state sex offender registry

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

A man listed on the state's sex offender registry is living in a dormitory at Buena Vista University.

Benjamin Handy, 20, pleaded guilty in 1999 of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse in Plymouth County. His victim was a 5-year-old girl, according to the Iowa Sex Offender Registry. State officials classify him at moderate risk to commit another sex crime.

Handy is a junior studying computer science.

The school first learned of Handy's status as a sex offender last week, when police notified local media, said Richard Ridgway, director of university communications.

Handy said people should not consider him a threat because he has been in treatment for three years and has not caused a problem since arriving at Buena Vista. He said no one has harassed him about his crime.

Handy was initially categorized as a low-risk offender, but his status recently changed to a moderate risk requiring media notification of his presence in the area.

Handy said Friday his downgrade in status was "not offense-related," but he provided no further explanation.

The sexual offender notice was provided to local media Monday.

- The Associated Press

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