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2011-11-24 digital edition

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2011-11-24 / General Stories

Giddings Police Arrest Sex Offender

Offender’s Facebook Participation Allegedly Violates Probation Terms Offender’s Facebook Participation Allegedly Violates Probation Terms
By Dana Lehmann, LeeCountyLive.com


Cruz Molina Cruz Molina Monday, November 21, 2011

Giddings police on Wednesday arrested a registered sex offender who was allegedly living in Giddings without notifying local authorities.

Giddings police became aware of the situation and possible violation when they received a call from the Texas Attorney General’s Office earlier this month. The Attorney General’s Office had received a tip from a complainant who noticed that a 27 year-old man, Cruz Molina, was “friending” young girls on the socialnetworking website Facebook. An investigator with the Attorney General’s Office asked the police department to investigate.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Registry, Cruz Martin Molina was convicted of sexual assault against a 20 year-old woman in 2006 and given a five year prison sentence. After he was released from prison, Molina lived in Columbus and registered there - a requirement of his sentence.

Molina is considered a “moderate” risk according to the Sex Offender Registry and his requirement to register as a sex offender is “non-expiring”.

Giddings police allege that Molina moved to Giddings and had been living in Giddings for months without registering. After consulting with the Texas Attorney General’s Office and authorities in Columbus, Giddings police officers arrested Molina Wednesday evening at a house on Seguin Street. Molina had listed this residence, which is located in a mobile home park, as his work address when he registered with Columbus police in July.

According to Giddings Police Captain Earl Pence, Molina was required, under the terms of his probation, to notify Columbus authorities before moving away from Columbus. Pence said that Molina had seven days to register with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office after moving to Giddings. Pence said, “It is our position that Molina failed to comply with these terms.”

When arrested on Wednesday, Molina had four profiles on Facebook. As a condition of his probation, Molina is required to notify authorities of any socialnetworking activity. According to Captain Pence, Molina did not comply with this restriction.

At the time of his arrest, one of Molina’s Facebook profiles had 84 “friends”; all but a few were young women. Many of the young women attend Giddings High School (GHS); some of them attend Giddings Middle School, according to their Facebook profiles. When local police began investigating Molina, they notified GHS Principal Chad Rood to make him aware of the situation.

Facebook expressly prohibits sex offenders from participating on their site, but does not monitor this restriction on their own. Facebook’s policy is to remove a sex offender’s profile when they are notified that the offender is a participant on the site. At least three of Molina’s profiles are still active on Facebook.

Molina was taken into custody and transported to the Lee County jail. He is charged with Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, a 3rd degree felony.

Editor’s Note: Monday the 21st Molina was out on bail. Lee County has 27 Registered Sex Offenders, Lexington has eight. Go to Texas Departmaant of Public Safety at www.txdps.state.tx.us for names and pictures of the registered sex offenders in our area.

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