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Man with past sex crime convictions charged with shopping center fondling

Johnson City Press • Updated Dec 29, 2015 at 8:53 PM

A man with a history of violent sex crimes was again arrested Tuesday by Johnson City authorities, this time charged with fondling an underage boy in a shopping center parking lot.

Johnson City Police arrested Lemar Q. Gipson, 53, Tuesday morning and charged him with sexual battery after a juvenile employee of a business in the Kroger-anchored shopping center at 112 Sunset Drive picked his photograph out of a police lineup.

The juvenile told police he was collecting shopping carts Dec. 19 in the business’ parking lot when a man approached him and handed him a piece of paper with a name and a phone number written on it and asked for his contact information. The man then reportedly moved closer to the juvenile and touched his groin with an open hand.

Police said surveillance photos taken from the store at the time of the reported incident show a man wearing a yellow reflective jacket that appears to be the same jacket worn by Gipson during his recent reporting to the TBI Sex Offender Registry.

According to Gipson’s entry on the registry, he is considered a violent offender, and was convicted of five sex crimes since 1993, including four counts of sexual battery and criminal attempt to commit rape.

The registry lists him as homeless, and earlier this year he was arrested and charged with violating sex offender registry restrictions after police said he was found living in a tent near a day care center, but police Tuesday listed his address as 2312 Browns Mill Road, the address of the Interstate Inn near the shopping center where the crime was reported.

After his arrest, Gipson was taken to the Washington County Detention Center and held in lieu of $5,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Washington County Sessions Court at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

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