- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 5, 2005

DALLAS — A Texas child molester who several years ago pleaded to be surgically castrated so he wouldn’t repeat his crimes has been released in San Antonio, but authorities do not know whether he had undergone the operation.

Larry Don McQuay was released Tuesday after serving about eight years of a 20-year sentence. He was taken to the Bexar County Jail and placed in a work-release program because, authorities said, no halfway house in the county could accept him. The Salvation Army has the only state-accredited housing, but it doesn’t accept sex offenders.

McQuay could not be reached for comment yesterday. He reportedly told officials he had undergone the castration surgery, but refused to have his medical records released.

Paul Looney, a lawyer who represented a victims’ rights group in Houston that pressed for a state to allow the voluntary castration, said McQuay underwent the operation more than six months ago.

“I think this whole thing stinks,” Mr. Looney said. “This guy desperately tried to get help and now that he did get help, everyone’s treating him like a leper.”

He said McQuay had written him letters expressing “relief” at having undergone the operation, which reputedly stifles sexual urges.

McQuay pleaded publicly for the operation in 1997. He said he had molested more than 240 children and warned: “I will be required to look for work — meaning I will be walking the streets of your city, of your community, of your neighborhoods. And without doubt there will be children around. You tell me what is likely to happen if I am not castrated before I am released.”

After McQuay’s statements, the Texas Legislature passed a voluntary castration bill for repeat sex offenders. Gov. George W. Bush signed it into law in June 1997.

County officials said McQuay would be housed with work-release inmates who, as nonviolent offenders, can leave for up to 12 hours a day to go to jobs. McQuay will be accompanied by a parole officer wherever he goes, and will wear an ankle bracelet to track his location.

Dianne Clements, president of Justice for All, a Houston victims’ rights group, was skeptical of McQuay’s release, citing his refusal to allow public proof of the castration. “I would consider McQuay, castrated or not, a dangerous pedophile,” she said.

A former school bus driver in San Antonio, McQuay warned in 1990 that he feared his compulsion eventually would lead to murder.

McQuay was released briefly in 1993, but was returned to prison on a technical violation of his supervision. Three years later, he was released again and caused a public outcry as he was assigned to a halfway house in San Antonio.

Prosecutors in 1996 found evidence of additional sexual attacks on children dating back to 1989. McQuay was convicted of the new charges and sent back to prison until his release this week.

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