HEMPSTEAD COUNTY, AR (KSLA) - A sex offender set to be released from an Arkansas hospital has threatened to “rape the first woman he sees,” authorities say.
That prompted the Hempstead County, Ark., Sheriff’s Office to post a warning Monday on its Facebook page.
That news of John West’s impending release has unleashed a firestorm on social media.
The 38-year-old reportedly has a mental illness and is stable while on medication.
However, “he is telling the hospital personnel that he will not stay on his medication when he walks out of the hospital,” the sheriff’s post states.
West also has been telling hospital staffers that he “will rape the first woman he sees” so he can go back into the custody of the Arkansas Department of Corrections, the post adds.
And West allegedly has reported that he previously has had command hallucinations that told him to rape a woman.
“This notice is provided to the citizens of Hempstead County out of a concern for the safety for the citizens,” says the post that ends with Sheriff James Singleton’s name. “Please use caution if this person approaches you. Call 911 immediately and report whereabouts. Please do not approach.”
The sheriff says West was convicted of rape Oct. 7, 1996; West’s victim was a 4-year-old girl.
Last month, he was taken to the hospital in Little Rock for evaluation after police arrested him April 26 in Hope, Ark., on a charge of disorderly conduct.
At that time, West listed himself as being homeless in Hope.
“I am at a loss for words. I have no idea why they would make such a decision to release (him) back to Hempstead County,” says a Sheriff’s Office response to a comment on the Facebook post. “He was convicted in Yell County in the 90s. Don’t know why he wants to be in Hope/Hempstead County.”
Arkansas categorizes sex offenders into four levels based on assessments of the likelihood that they will commit another sex crime.
They range from Level 1, which is low risk, to Level 4. Offenders in the latter category are classified as being sexually violent predators.
Level 2 is for those who pose a moderate risk.
West is considered to be a Level 3, or high-risk, sex offender.
“We were advised by the hospital in Little Rock that he was being released. Surprise to us also,” says another comment posted by the Sheriff’s Office.