A sexual offender who was arrested for violating a ban from George Mason University early last month was sentenced during a hearing Oct. 15.
Sean Tyree, of Burke, was charged with Class I misdemeanor trespassing in early September and after entering a guilty plea received a 60-day suspended sentence.
The Virginia State Police sex offender registry states that Sean James Tyree is a 34 year old man who was convicted of carnal knowledge, or sexual intercourse, of a child 13 to 15 years old Aug. 27, 2010. Tyree was then charged with two violations of the terms of his probation and parole, including failure to register as a violent sex offender in July and August of 2012.
Many students approached by Tyree said that he misrepresents himself as a member of a GMU fraternity. He then asks them to party with him or he’ll request their phone number. A male GMU student posted on a GMU Facebook page Sept. 10 warning fellow students that he’d encountered Tyree on a dating app.
“To all my queers, I was contacted by Sean James Tyree on *a certain queer dating app*,” he posted. “Everyone just watch out because he got very aggressive and then I blocked him. He also said his name is David. Please be careful!!!”
GMU student Mary Beth Armstrong was approached at University Mall in Fairfax by Tyree before his arrest in September. She characterized the encounter as “definitely out of the ordinary, but not as aggressive as other accounts with him have detailed.”
And although GMU police sent out an alert last month to warn students, many students took to social media last month to express their displeasure with the fact that police did not disclose Tyree being a registered sexual offender. A GMU spokesperson declined to comment on why they did not include that information in the alert.
“Given that GMU officials did not release the information that he was a sex offender, I do not believe this qualifies them as forthcoming,” said Armstrong. “Obviously they released information warning people he was on campus, but I was unaware that he had been released after they had informed us he was in custody. I believe it’s their duty to inform us that a sex offender known for harassing both women and men, is still in the campus vicinity, even if not directly on campus.”
GMU graduate Catherine McKay, who has been following Tyree’s case since she was approached by him back in 2016, said she gets sick to her stomach every time she sees his name or reads about other encounters with him.
“When I learned he was back on campus and arrested for it, it just cemented in my head that he is going to seriously hurt someone someday soon and that law enforcement really doesn’t care,” she said. “They are absolutely not doing enough to protect students from him.”
Although McKay said that GMU police advised her that he was a sex offender who had been banned from campus back in 2016, she said that at that time GMU police didn’t immediately send out a campus-wide email with Tyree’s face and name.
GMU students first began reporting about Tyree approaching them back in 2014. In 2016, he was banned from all GMU campuses.
Some time between 2016 and 2017, Tyree moved to Harrisonburg and according to James Madison University officials he was served with a trespass notice for JMU property in 2017. Although they received several complaints about Tyree, Harrisonburg Police Department never had cause to charge him because he didn’t break any laws, according to Sergeant Scott Drugo.
“We turned the complaints over to the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Compliance Officer in the area,” he said. Drugo estimated that Tyree left the Harrisonburg area and returned to Northern Virginia in mid August of this year, a few weeks before he was charged with violating the ban on entering GMU property.