Repeat rapist held in attack

Suspect in Arundel assault was left off sex offender registry

October 11, 2007|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,SUN REPORTER

A twice-convicted rapist has been arrested and accused of attacking a woman at a Linthicum light rail station, raping her and leading police on a chase in the Patapsco River.

Less than a week after a judge dismissed charges that Eugene Waller, 49, exposed himself to a Frederick woman on a light rail train, the man was charged Tuesday with dragging a 22-year-old Linthicum woman into the woods and sexually assaulting her at gunpoint.

The woman escaped and swam to safety in the nearby river, and Waller was arrested after he plunged into the water with officers in pursuit, police said.

Waller has a 30-year history of violent sexual assaults and other sex-related offenses, several at light rail stations. But after he was released from the Baltimore City jail in August, following an indecent exposure conviction, he was mistakenly left off the state's online sex offender registry, police said.

In Maryland, offenders are removed from the public list - which provides information about their criminal records and where they live - if they die, move to another state or are sent back to jail.

"If you're in a detention facility, you're not going anywhere," said Rosa Cruz, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

But those offenders must be placed back on the registry upon their release from prison, and police agencies last night were blaming one another over who was responsible for making sure that Waller's name was put back on the list.

Because he was not on the registry, law enforcement officials might not have been aware of his status as a violent sex offender or checked to ensure that he was living at his listed address.

If he had been found to be living at a different address, a warrant would been issued for his arrest.

Waller has been arrested twice and convicted once for failing to register his current address.

Anne Arundel County police said yesterday that it was the responsibility of police in Baltimore to return his name to the list after he was released from his most recent jail stint.

Sgt. Sara Schriver, a county police spokeswoman, said Waller was last entered in the registry in January as a violent offender in Baltimore, with a last known address in the 200 block of "Greenmont Avenue." But no such address appears to exist.

Agent Donny Moses, a Baltimore police spokesman, said Anne Arundel County detectives contacted the department in April to determine whether Waller was living in the 2200 block of Greenmount Ave. and were told that the home was abandoned and uninhabitable.

"It is the last jurisdiction of registration's responsibility to locate and register an offender when the offender fails to re-register in another jurisdiction," Moses said. The spokesman said the last legitimate address for Waller was in Anne Arundel County.

Waller has appeared in court since 1977, when he received a six-year prison sentence for rape in Anne Arundel, according to law enforcement sources. He was charged again with rape in 1982 but was acquitted by a jury, sources said.

In 1984, an Anne Arundel jury convicted him of rape, and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

He was released in February 2003 and was required to register for life as a violent sex offender, court records show.

However, he was arrested twice for failing to update his address - one of the arrests occurring at the North Linthicum light rail station - and charged twice with indecent exposure.

Court records show that Waller, under the alias Tony Brown, was sentenced in January 2006 to a year at the Metropolitan Transitional Center in Baltimore for indecent exposure. Also, he stood trial last week in Anne Arundel County on charges that he exposed himself in December to a Frederick woman on a light rail train.

In that case, Waller was accused of sitting across from the victim, staring at her, then beginning to masturbate.

Circuit Judge Michele D. Jaklitsch dismissed the charges after Waller's defense attorneys argued that it could not be proved that the incident occurred while the light rail train was in Anne Arundel County.

"The victim was unable to confirm 100 percent whether or not the light rail was in Anne Arundel County at all times of the act occurring," said Kristin Riggin, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office. "We had the evidence, we had the victim - it was a complete technicality."

On Tuesday, a woman told police she had been sitting on a bench at the Nursery Road light rail station around 2 p.m. when a man started to talk to her, according to court papers. He then jammed what the victim said was a gun into her side and dragged her down a hill, through a wooded area and into a clearing, where he told her no one would be able to hear her scream, court papers show.

He is alleged to have forced her to have sex repeatedly, but she freed herself and ran toward the Patapsco River. She took off her shoes and shirt, believing they would slow her as she swam away with her attacker following close behind, court papers state.

She climbed out and flagged down a motorist on B&A Boulevard and called police, who spotted the suspect coming out of the woods and apprehended him as he attempted to flee in the river, according to court records.

While detained, police said, Waller banged his head against his cell wall and had to be transported to Harbor Hospital in Baltimore for treatment.

Waller has been charged with first-degree rape, kidnapping, first- and second-degree sex offenses, first-degree assault and use of a handgun during a commission of a felony.

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