Accused attacker spends nights in jail, goes free during day -- on taxpayers' dime

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. - Taxpayers are apparently paying rent for high-risk offenders -- like a man accused of trying to rape a woman -- to spend their nights and in the Yamhill County Jail and go free during the day.

It's part of a unique jail program offered to those on probation who would otherwise be homeless and, as deputies say, pose a greater public safety risk.

Trinidad Padilla, 44, was arrested Wednesday after authorities said he attacked a woman in a downtown store in the afternoon after everyone else had left. The woman fought back and screamed until Padilla gave up and left, police said.

Padilla had already served his time for an attempted rape conviction and needed a place to live. He used a stipend he receives from the Department of Corrections for housing to essentially rent a jail bed at night.

He takes off in the morning with a lunch provided by the jail and has an 8 p.m. curfew.

"I know he checks in and out at the jailbut I know he's been running with Scott Cox, too, which is a bad situation, too," said Padilla's family friend Diana Hawley.

Scott Cox was a man who murdered two women in Portland in the 1990s and spent 20 years in prison. After being released in February, he also takes part in the Yamhill County Jail program.

Among the other offenders who take part in the program: Two sex offenders, Chris Lewis and Daniel Loos.

Yamhill County's program is unusual: The only other Oregon county that's adopted a similar program is Marion County, which has two or three beds it offers to offenders.

So why does the money to pay for their housing come from the county, which comes from taxpayers?

Yamhill County Sheriff's Capt. Ron Huber said: "I would say the main issue at hand is community safety."

Law enforcement officials said it's far better to know where offenders are spending their evenings than when they don't have a place to live and don't have a job. There's a greater chance they'll commit a crime, officials said.

Padilla is now in custody at the jail.