Friday, October 16, 2009

Michael Craig Bailey - Repeat Sex Offender - Store Predator

A Hatfield man who admitted to having indecent contact with a 10-year-old girl and to making inappropriate comments to another girl at a Montgomery Township bookstore is a predator, a judge has determined.

Michael Craig Bailey, 50, of the 400 block of South Main Street, meets criteria under the state's Megan's Law to be classified as a sexually violent predator, Montgomery County President Judge Richard J. Hodgson indicated in an order issued Thursday.

The predator classification is significant because those deemed to be predators face more stringent restrictions under Megan's Law, including mandatory counseling, a lifetime requirement to report their addresses to state police and community notification about their living arrangements once they're released from jail.

The judge made the ruling based on testimony he heard at a hearing last month. During that hearing Assistant District Attorney Stephen Geday argued Bailey is a predator while defense lawyer Adam Katzman argued Bailey is not a predator.

Both lawyers relied on the testimony of dueling sexual offender experts to prove their points. The judge determined that prosecutors proved "by clear and convincing evidence" that Bailey meets criteria under the law to be classified as a sexually violent predator.
Bailey has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of indecent assault and corruption of a minor in connection with two incidents that occurred at the Borders Books store on Bethlehem Pike between June and July of 2008.

Bailey, authorities alleged, approached a 10-year-old girl in the store on June 10, 2008, fondled her buttocks, put his arm around her waist, pulled her close and whispered in her ear. The incident was captured by store surveillance video cameras.

On July 6, police responded to the same bookstore where Bailey approached a 14-year-old girl and told her, "next time I want you to wear the shortest mini-skirt that you have," according to court papers.
Bailey faces up to 10 years in prison on the charges when he's sentenced later this year.

In determining that Bailey meets the criteria to be classified as a predator, Hodgson found that Bailey suffers from a personality disorder that makes him likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses, a requirement under the law.

Hodgson said he assessed several factors in making his determination.

"First, the offense involved multiple victims, a fact which increases an offender's chances to re-offend sexually. Moreover, the victims were strangers to the defendant," Hodgson wrote in the order.

Hodgson indicated he also found Bailey's prior criminal record to be "instructive."
In 1993, Bailey was arrested by Souderton police and charged with indecent assault for approaching a woman in a department store from behind, touching her inappropriately and kissing her without her consent, according to court papers. Bailey pleaded guilty to that offense, court papers indicate.
Judge Hodgson also noted that Bailey did not successfully complete treatment programs for sexual offenders after the 1993 offense and violated his probation and parole.

"Both of these factors increase the risk of recidivism," Hodgson wrote.

An investigation of Bailey began on June 10, 2008, when a 10-year-old girl and her mother reported to police that she was reviewing books when a man walked by her and brushed his hand and body against her buttocks and back. The man, later determined to be Bailey, then circled the bookshelves and approached the girl from behind again, according to the criminal complaint.

"This time, the man put his left arm around the waist of (the girl) pulling himself in close," Montgomery Township Detective James Reape alleged. "The man said something unintelligible and (the girl) responded by pushing his hand down and away from her body and stepping away."

The girl reported the incident to her mother but the man had already left the store. However, Borders' video surveillance system clearly recorded the incident, police said.
"In addition to the contact (the girl) described, the video shows the man watching her for several minutes prior to approaching her," Reape alleged.
Police were called again to the same store on July 6 when a 14-year-old girl reported a man approached her while she was reviewing books in the young adults section and stated to her, "Next time I want you to wear the shortest mini skirt you have," according to the arrest affidavit.

"This statement alarmed (the girl) and she immediately told her mother what the man said to her," Reape alleged.

Responding police located Bailey, matching the description provided by the girl, near a Toys R Us store in the same shopping center.

"25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years"
.........Sarah Tofte

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