PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A man convicted of molesting nearly a dozen children in the late 1990s was released from prison on Wednesday, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.
Dana Waters pleaded guilty to multiple counts of child molestation in 1998 and was sentenced to serve 27 years behind bars at the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston. At the time, prosecutors said there were at least 11 victims, all boys, ranging from 4 to 15 years old.
Waters, now 45, was released from the ACI on Thursday afternoon, years earlier than his original sentence called for.
A spokesperson for the Rhode Island Department of Corrections said Waters earned both good and industrial time – usually educational programs – which shaved time off his sentence.
“His has accrued 2,217 days good time days, plus another 396 industrial days,” J.R. Ventura said in an email. “He also managed to lose along the way 264 good time days for breaking institutional policies.”
Ventura said Waters has been deemed a Level 3 sex offender, which is considered a “high risk offender” by the Rhode Island Sex Offender Board of Review.
It is unclear where he will be living. Laura Pisaturo, Chairperson of the Rhode Island Parole Board – which oversees the Community Notification Unit – said Waters has 24 hours to register with the local police department in the town he moves to. Once he does that, the town in which he lives will be made public on the state’s website.
“A failure to register within 24 hours is an arrestable/felony offense,” Pisaturo wrote in an email.
Target 12 contacted two victims of Waters – who WPRI 12 is not identifying – and they said they were not notified by the prison about the pending release.
Ventura said victims have to voluntarily sign up for their electronic notification system called VINE.
“We know that a pre-notification went out on November 10 informing those who are in the system about the upcoming expiration of sentence of Mr. Waters,” Ventura said. “There were some numbers that came back as ‘undeliverable,’ which just means the message has not been validated by the receiver.”
One victim molested by Waters when he attended Camp Davis in Charlestown, said he is very concerned that Waters could offend again.
“Anyone who lives in that neighborhood and especially has kids should know who he is and where is,” he said. “I just think the guy is a con artist.”
Target 12 previously reported that someone had created an online profile of Waters on a prison dating website.
In 1997, Waters was arrested on charges he molested a Barrington boy he babysat. Soon other victims started coming forward.
“Dana Waters made himself available to the community as a camp counselor, as a nanny, as a big brother, as a Boy Scout assistant leader,” one mother of a victim told Target 12. “A number of them were special needs children, others were from single parent homes.”
In February, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin responded to Target 12’s report and expressed outrage over the early release of Waters.
“This is the exact type of case that caused my office to make changes to the state’s so-called ‘Good Time’ law,” Kilmartin said. “It is frustrating to learn of another sexual predator who is released from prison early, despite the changes to the law.”
The 2012 changes to the good time law spearheaded by Kilmartin prevent those convicted of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping of a minor, first-degree sexual assault, and first and second-degree child molestation, from earning credits toward early release for good behavior.
While Waters’ convictions include first and second-degree child molestation, the changes to the good time law are not applied retroactively. In other words, only those convicted of those crimes in 2012 or later aren’t allowed to earn good time.
Waters will now be on 33 years of probation and is not allowed to contact his victims.