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Registered sex offender prohibited from visiting wooded areas

June 24, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown man who was convicted of raping a girl in Anne Arundel County, Md., more than two decades ago has been prohibited from visiting wooded areas, a state prison official said Friday.

Mark Vernarelli, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said in an email that the Maryland Parole Commission recently approved a request from the Division of Parole and Probation to place special conditions on the man that also prohibit him from possessing child pornography.

The Hagerstown Police Department and the Hagerstown Parks and Recreation Division passed out fliers Wednesday at City and Mills parks warning residents about the man, a registered sex offender whose name is not being printed in The Herald-Mail because, as of Friday, he hadn't been charged with any crime.

City Police Chief Arthur Smith said earlier this week that officials used a GPS anklet to track the man's movements. The GPS readings showed that the man was going to wooded areas at City and Mills parks.

Smith said those locations spiked the suspicions of law- enforcement officials because the man raped a 15-year-old girl at knifepoint in a wooded area in Anne Arundel County in 1986.

The man was convicted in 1988 and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Vernarelli said the man got out of prison on mandatory release in 2006, but was returned to prison in July 2007. Vernarelli said he didn't know why the man was incarcerated the second time.

The man was released on mandatory supervision this spring, "meaning by law he had to be released to the supervision of Parole and Probation agents," Vernarelli said.

Smith said the man has been living in downtown Hagerstown since his release.

The Hagerstown Police Department cannot arrest the man if officers see him in a wooded area, Smith said. If that happens, officers have been told to identify the man and notify the Division of Probation of Parole.

"They'll do the paperwork so we can arrest him," Smith said, adding police have received reports of alleged sightings of the man at city playgrounds.

Smith said the police department distributed the fliers, which included the man's name, photograph and age, in the interest of public safety.

Two attempts by The Herald-Mail to contact the man on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

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