Thurston Allen was arraigned in New Bedford yesterday after he was arrested following a foot chase and struggle, New Bedford police say.
Police in New Bedford say they are disappointed that a judge set $1,000 bail for a homeless child rapist who has repeatedly failed to register as a Level 3 sex offender and has a rap sheet that is "10 feet long."
Thurston Allen, 36, who was convicted in 1996 of rape of a child with force and in 1994 of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or older, was arraigned in New Bedford yesterday after he was arrested following a foot chase and struggle, according to New Bedford police.
It was the third time Allen was arrested for failure to register as a sex offender in the past four years, according to New Bedford police.
New Bedford Police Lt. Jeffrey Silva called the actions of Judge Bernadette Sabra "disappointing."
"Why she opted to set bail at $1,000 on a violent career criminal and a Level 3 child rapist is a mystery to all of us," he said.
Reached by the Herald at her Somerset home this morning, Sabra defended her decision to set bail at $1,000.
"I felt that was sufficient to ensure he would be brought back. I was told he was homeless. I felt it was unlikely he would make that bail," said Sabra, who is presiding justice of New Bedford District Court. "On the record, I put that he did have a record of convictions."
Allen has not posted bail as of this morning. He is being held in the Dartmouth House of Correction and faces a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in state prison if he is convicted for the third time of failure to register as a sex offender.
Sabra noted prosecutors did not immediately seek to charge Allen on the failure to register charges.
"When he was charged last week, they did not charge him with failure to register and five days later they decide to charge him," Sabra said. "I don't know the answer to why that was was."
On Sept. 6, Allen was arrested for domestic assault and battery and released on personal recognizance, according to police.
Yesterday, Bristol District Attorney Sam Sutter's office sought to have the order of personal recognizance revoked because he committed the crime of failing to register while he was out on bail, according to spokesman Gregg Miliote.
When that was denied, the prosecutor requested that Sabra set bail at $5,000. Sabra set bail at $1,000.
Miliote declined comment on the judge's decision, but said: "What our prosecutors did, we believe, was in the best interest of the public."
Miliote said Sabra was presented with information about Allen's lengthy criminal history, including information on the most recent arrest on the domestic violence charge on Sept. 6. Silva said Allen's rap sheet measures 10 feet long.
Sabra noted that notwithstanding the seriousness of his criminal record, Allen was before her only on misdemeanor charges.
Allen has twice served time for failing to register as a sex offender, according to police.
In 2004, he was convicted and served 30 days in jail for failing to register. In 2005, Allen was again convicted of failing to register as a sex offender and served six months in jail.
Allen's attorney could not immediately be reached.