Registered sex offender arrested for entering museum

Staff writerOctober 17, 2011 

A man who has been in and out of federal prison since 2000 for possessing child pornography was arrested last week after he entered the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, according to Raleigh police.

Wayne Robert Hicks, 52, was charged with one felony count of being a registered sex offender on child premises, according to an arrest warrant filed at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office. Hicks is charged with entering the museum on Oct. 8, but investigators think he had been there several times before, said police spokesman Jim Sughrue.

Sughrue said Raleigh police received a tip that Hicks was frequenting one of the museums downtown and said they shared the information with officers who work in the downtown district. Raleigh police worked with museum staff and State Capitol police, but in the end it was a Raleigh officer who spotted Hicks entering the museum, Sughrue said.

Hicks was first ordered off the property and told he would be charged with trespassing if he returned. However, after consulting with the Wake County District Attorney's Office, police filed felony charges on Friday based on a general statute that makes it illegal for a registered sex offender to enter a place that's regularly attended by children for educational, recreational or social programs.

Raleigh police transported Hicks to the Wake County jail where he is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Federal prison records show that Hicks was released from the Butner Federal Prison Camp on July 28 after he was convicted of possession of child pornography. In August 2000, a federal judge had sentenced Hicks to 27 months in prison for possessing child pornography, said Chris Burke, a spokesman with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Hicks was released from prison in October 2002, but he violated the terms of his release and was sent back in May 2005. Hicks again could be sent back to federal prison for violating the terms of his latest release, Burke said.

tmcdonald@newsobserver.com or (919) 829-4533

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