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Two days earlier, he escaped from a state treatment center.
By Joel Anderson and Stephanie Garry, Times Staff Writer
Published February 11, 2008
The search for one of Florida's most notorious rapists ended early Sunday, when Bruce Alan Young was caught about 12 miles from the confinement center in Arcadia he escaped from two days earlier .
Young is a former Citrus County Memorial Hospital nurse who raped a number of sedated patients in the early 1990s. On Friday, he escaped from the Florida Civil Commitment Center, a facility that confines and treats sexual offenders who have served their sentences but are considered too dangerous to go free.
The capture ended a weekend of worry for the seven victims whose testimony helped bring about his confinement.
One of the seven, now 45 and living in Citrus County, said she received a call from the State Attorney's Office in Hernando County on Friday informing her of Young's escape. She worried that Young would make good on threats he'd previously made against her. On Sunday, she was hopeful Young would face more time behind bars.
"I felt nervous," she told the Times. "He could have probably gotten out in a couple of years, but now that he's escaped they'll be keeping his butt in jail."
Young was walking down a street on the east side of Arcadia at 2:39 a.m. when he was stopped by a police officer, according to the DeSoto County Sheriff's Office. The deputy asked Young what he was doing at that time of night and then recognized him as the escaped sexual offender.
Young, 59, was arrested and booked into the DeSoto County Jail. He remains there on a charge of escape from lawful custody and could face additional charges.
Pablo Paez, a spokesman for the company that has run the treatment center since 2006, said authorities were still investigating how Young managed to slip out of the center. This was the first escape since the company took over the operation of the facility, which has 680 beds and houses 635 residents.
"We will be reviewing the findings of this investigation as well as any corrective actions with the Department of Children and Families," Paez said in an e-mail to the Times on Sunday. "Given the security nature of the investigation, we cannot comment on its findings."
Authorities are trying to piece together Young's whereabouts following his escape. Authorities have called him dangerous, but no weapons were found on him at the time of his arrest, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Young was convicted of raping women as they recovered from surgery in Memorial Hospital. Another nurse caught him on top of a 15-year-old girl in 1994 with his pants down, trying to have sex as she lay on a gurney recovering from abdominal surgery.
Young pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual battery on a helpless victim in 1995. Ten years into his 17-year sentence he was released.
But his victims lined up to testify in court that he should remain locked up under the Jimmy Ryce Act, named for a 9-year-old Miami-Dade County boy who was killed by a child molester in 1998. Jurors agreed with the victims, and Young was committed to the Arcadia facility, where he has been since February 2005. He asked for release in 2007 with plans to move to St. Petersburg.
With Young facing the possibility of more criminal charges, it's unclear where the convicted rapist is headed from here.
"It would be premature to speculate where Mr. Young may be housed following resolution on these additional charges," Paez said.
Joel Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352 784-6120.
[Last modified February 10, 2008, 23:38:50]