Sex offender arrested after falling in open manhole

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A fugitive sex offender was arrested Wednesday after falling down a manhole on the sidewalk in front of Houston’s criminal courthouse.

Robert Lee Brooks, 56, was walking in front of the downtown courthouse during a downpour when he stepped on a utility box cover that had been dislodged because of the pressure of the rain, said Alan Bernstein, a spokesman for the Precinct 1 Constable’s Office.

Brooks was injured when he fell, with one leg going all the way down the 5-foot deep street-level hole.

Several deputies and others came to help, but because of the risk of further injuring Brooks, an ambulance and firetruck came to help dislodge him.

He was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he gave a different date of birth than the one he had given at the scene, raising the suspicion of deputies who had come to the hospital to help him.
Brooks was fingerprinted, determined to be a fugitive sex offender and arrested for failing to register.

It was unclear what Brooks was doing outside of the courthouse. He is homeless, but Texas law requires homeless registered sex offenders to check in at a police station every 30 days. He apparently has not checked in since November 2015.

He was convicted of sexual assault of a child in Ohio in 1986, court records show.


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