Questions surround convicted rapist’s release as police investigate aggravated sexual assault
Jan 26, 2023, 10:40 AM | Updated: May 12, 2023, 5:23 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — In 1998, at the start of his five-to-life sentence, Christopher Browning was ordered to undergo sex offender treatment in prison.
It took him 23 years to complete that treatment.
Between 2019 and his release from prison last year, Browning committed three in-prison assaults, at least one of them, against an officer.
“I do still have an anger problem that I need to address,” he told Utah’s Board of Pardons and Parole during a hearing in September.
Still, Browning was granted parole and released in December. He had promised to keep working on himself, and assured the board he had support to keep him in line.
“I have a good friend,” he said. “She’s helping me out, supporting me.”
A board member seemed pleased to hear about the progress Browning described and encouraged him to move on with his life.
“When you leave these doors, just know you paid your debt,” he told Browning. “What happened is heinous. It was wrong. And I know you feel a lot of just different feelings about that. You’ve been sentenced on that and everything, but you’ve now paid your debt.”
Despite Browning’s claims that he had changed during his 24 years in the state prison, new police records obtained by KSL Investigators describe another heinous crime in which he’s now charged.
According to a police affidavit, Browning went to a Taylorsville woman’s home “to visit and meet in person” on Jan. 18. That’s where he learned, over the phone, that a warrant was out for his arrest.
The woman told police Browning’s “demeanor changed,” and he said “You’re going to see what kind of monster I am.”
She said Browning lunged at her and attacked her, kept her from breathing till she lost consciousness, then held her at knifepoint and told her, “If I’m going back to prison, I’m going to make it worth my while.” The woman told police Browning raped her, threatened her life, threatened her son’s life, and tried to kill her cat.
Utah’s Department of Corrections filed the warrant for his arrest after officials say Browning walked away from a halfway house in Ogden that morning, less than 45 days after his parole – a decision now in question.
So far, Utah’s Board of Pardons and Parole has been silent on Browning’s case. And the Department of Corrections is refusing to reveal the results of Browning’s most recent risk assessment, which the board would have reviewed when making the decision to release him back into the community.
Corrections officials insist that information is private, despite the department willingly providing the same type of information about another sex offender during an interview with the KSL Investigators last March.
“He did have a high assessed risk,” Director of Institutional Programming Anndrea Parrish said of the other parolee during the interview.
It is true that some Board of Pardons records are granted more privacy under Utah laws, but there is additional information that can be released.
The KSL Investigators have requested interviews with both the Board of Pardons and Parole and the Utah Department of Corrections and will continue to push for answers and accountability.
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