The Level 3 sex offender arrested Wednesday night and accused of failing to register with police had been previously convicted of failing to register in 2012, a town judge said at the man’s arraignment Thursday morning.
Felix Cruz Garcia, 41, of Greenport will be held without bail until his arraignment can be completed Friday in the presence of a lawyer, said Southold Town Justice William Price.
Mr. Garcia did not enter a plea Thursday morning.
Mr. Garcia, who had previously been convicted of felony rape and drug sales, was arrested about 7:40 p.m. Wednesday after he failed to register his Greenport address with town police, according to a Southold Town police statement.
Mr. Garcia’s girlfriend comforted the man — who began to cry — before his arraignment Thursday morning, telling him that they will “get this fixed.” She told a reporter that the charges against Mr. Garcia were the result of some kind of “fabrications” made against him.
“It’s definitely a major misunderstanding,” said the woman — who did not give her name.
Mr. Garcia is classified as a Level 3 sex offender, police said. The state Division of Criminal Justice Services defines Level 3 sex offenders as those who present a “high risk of repeat offense” and may pose a “threat to public safety,” according to the state’s website.
According to the felony charge filed against him, Mr. Garcia did not register with Southold Town police on May 7, and has not registered since then. Southold cops also saw Mr. Garcia loitering in Mitchell Park and in the basketball courts on Third Street on Tuesday, according to a police statement.
The two misdemeanor loitering incidents are in violation of a county law preventing high-level sex offenders from loitering near playgrounds, schools and other select public spaces.
One charge stated that Mr. Garcia was seen at the Third Street basketball court at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday while “having no legitimate reason to be there.” The other loitering charge listed the incident location as happening at Mitchell Park at 11 p.m., but the details of the charge again listed the Third Street basketball court again.
Justice Price told Mr. Garcia he was unsure why the second charge listed two different locations.
“It doesn’t make sense to me but I’m obligated to read them,” Justice Price said.
Mr. Garcia — who had previously served two years in prison in 1996 for attempted robbery — was convicted in November 2002 of raping a 15-year-old girl in Riverhead, according to an online sex offender registry and state inmate records.
Mr. Garcia had engaged in “deviate sexual intercourse” with his victim and served four years in prison after being convicted of felony criminal sale of a controlled substance that same year, according the records.
One year after his release, he was arrested again and convicted of criminal sale of a controlled substance in 2008, online records show; he was released after serving two years and six months, the maximum sentence.