Sex offender arrested after visit to Phenix City pediatrician
PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Gary Lynn Morgan is a registered sex offender from West Virginia who is accused by parents and a Phenix City pediatrician of getting too familiar with young patients. But that's not why he's in the Russell County Jail tonight.
"I thought: in no way would it be legal for a registered or unregistered sex offender to be on our property," said Amanda Bradshaw of Preferred Medical Group.
According to officials in the state capital, sex offenders can visit pediatricians, daycares, and even schools, as long as they can give a legitimate reason for being there. In this case, Morgan was taking his grandson in for a check up.
No one in the office knew about Morgan's record, but it didn't take long for other parents to start feeling uncomfortable.
"He kind of wandered around our lobby talking to various children and asked them questions such as, 'where do you go to school?', 'what is your home address?', 'what is your phone number?'
In one case, Bradshaw said Morgan's behavior went beyond invasive questioning.
"He was reaching out to the child with his hands and he kept asking if the child would like to come to him and sit in his lap, and the mom said, no!"
As the warning signs became more apparent, staff took the appropriate precautions and checked the national sex offender registry. Using a photo of Morgan taken by a patient in the waiting room, they were able to positively identify him as a man convicted of sexually abusing girls between 13 and 17-years-old.
Once the connection was made, Dr. Ritu Chandra called police and they responded immediately.
Morgan was arrested, but so far, police have only been able to charge him with failing to notify authorities of his visit to Alabama.
If he was registered in Alabama, state officials said his presence at the pediatrician alone would not constitute a crime.
But police are still looking into the possibility of filing additional charges based on the way he acted around children in the waiting room.
One of the reasons the doctors and staff at Phenix City Children's felt so strongly about getting the word out is because at least one of the girls approached by Morgan did tell him her address and where she went to school. The girl's mother was present to witness it and she warns other parents to coach their children not to give out personal information to a stranger.
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