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Sex offender held for court in address registration case

| Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, 12:36 a.m.

A registered sex offender who was asked to leave a residential facility in Homestead because he allegedly did not comply with house rules has been held for court on charges of failing to notify authorities he had moved.

William Thornhill, 24, appeared before Magisterial District Judge Thomas Torkowsky on Wednesday on a charge of failing to comply with sex offender registration requirements. Thornhill is required to do so under Megan's Law because he pleaded guilty in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas to charges of indecent assault and indecent exposure in May 2011.

During Thornhill's hearing, Pastor David Sutton, who oversees a residential facility for registered sex offenders along East Eleventh Avenue in Homestead, told the court he asked Thornhill to leave his facility because he repeatedly broke a house rule requiring new arrivals to stay indoors for a week.

Sutton said Thornhill was told of the seven-day “blackout” policy when he arrived on a Friday approximately two months ago.

“He habitually went off grounds Friday, Saturday and Sunday to smoke,” Sutton said, adding he contacted the judicial authorities who placed Thornhill in the home and notified them of Thornhill's digressions. Sutton said he told Thornhill he had to leave.

Thornhill left but allegedly did not notify state police within the required 48-hour reporting window.

Public defender Brandon Keller asked the court for leniency, stating Thornhill didn't have a new address to report to police after he left the Homestead facility. He said Thornhill had issues related to mental illness that should be considered.

Prosecutor Jonathan Lusty said even if Thornhill didn't have a place to go he still had the obligation to notify police that his address changed and that he was transient.

Thornhill is being held in Allegheny County Jail on $75,000 bail. His formal arraignment is set for Oct. 14.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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