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Patient charged over sex crime

July 21, 2008|Ruben Vives | Times Staff Writer

What began as just an odd sight in Boyle Heights -- a man walking down the sidewalk in a hospital gown -- ended with the man's arrest on suspicion of failing to register as a sex offender 36 years ago.

Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollenbeck Division were driving near Marengo and State streets Saturday afternoon when they spotted Charles Franklin McDuffy, 64, in a hospital gown. According to Officer Mike Lopez, McDuffy had left County-USC Medical Center after having spent three days there.

"He had been waiting for some kind of treatment and got fed up and walked out," Lopez said Sunday. The officers escorted McDuffy back to the hospital and did a routine background check. McDuffy's profile had been flagged, he said.

"There was a hit on the system," Lopez said. "It didn't give any details about what it was, so my partner went back to the station and did more research."

Lopez said they learned that McDuffy was convicted of a sexual assault in 1971 and had failed to register as a sex offender since 1972. By law, people convicted of sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders with local law enforcement agencies before being released back into the community.

"We had an individual who's been out and about for 36 years," Lopez said. "And now he's finally in custody."

Lopez said McDuffy received medical treatment and then was turned over to the Los Angeles County sheriff's infirmary. His bail was set at $20,000, according to authorities. Sex crime detectives are set to review McDuffy's case today for further investigation.


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