With sex crimes, particularly those relating to children, the fair administration of justice sometimes takes a backseat to the urge to punish. Just glancing at the headline of the Tarrant County district attorney's announcement of a 70-year prison sentence for failing to register as a sex offender might suggest 69-year-old Lloyd Gibson's case is one of those.
Maybe not. So prolific a child molester is Gibson that he earned the type of sobriquet more typically reserved for serial bank robbers. He revealed for the first time during Tuesday's sentencing hearing on his failure-to-register conviction that he is the "Baseball Cap Bandit," a pedophile who terrorized Houston in the 1970s by breaking into dozens of homes to expose himself to strangers' young children.
Five bullets from the mother of an 8-year-old girl put an end to the string of break-ins but not to Gibson's predation. Per the district attorney's office:
He also admitted to exposing himself to elementary school children on the playground by pressing his genitals through a chain-link fence. He further acknowledged that, on multiple occasions, he drove around naked from the waist down with cookies, gloves and a wig in his car, looking for kids.
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He admitted to prosecutor Kim D'Avignon that "he had gotten away with more sex crimes than he had gotten caught for," though he's been caught for plenty. Eight times over the past four decades he's been convicted on sex offenses, earning him sentences totaling 103 years in prison.
The vagaries of the criminal justice system are such, however, that Gibson was only locked up for 29 of those years. He won parole in the summer of 2010 and moved to Fort Worth, where he lived for two years before cutting off his ankle monitor and boarding a bus for Austin, where he took up a new identity.
In December 2012, after Gibson had been placed on the "Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offender" list, the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force found him in downtown Austin.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.