The Harford County sheriff has ordered a review of departmental policies after the office failed to notify state authorities this week that a man undergoing an evaluation at a psychiatric hospital had been charged with rape in Pennsylvania.
Instead, Paul D. McGlothlin, 32, was left unattended in an unlocked room on the open campus of Spring Grove State Hospital Center in Catonsville, officials said. Early Tuesday, he fled the hospital, apparently after cutting through mesh wiring affixed to a window.
McGlothlin was arrested Tuesday night after a high-speed chase in York County, Pa., authorities said. He was being held there yesterday on several charges.
McGlothlin, who was sent to Spring Grove in a Harford County case in which he faces burglary and theft charges, would have been immediately transferred to the maximum-security Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup had officials known about the rape charge, state officials said.
But the Harford sheriff's office failed to alert the state to a dispatch Friday from Pennsylvania authorities that McGlothlin was wanted there, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.
"It should have been done," said Sgt. Christina Presberry, a spokeswoman for Harford Sheriff L. Jesse Bane. "Obviously, we need to put some new policies into place, some new procedures into place to make sure something like this doesn't slip through the cracks again."
W. Lawrence Fitch, who oversees forensic services for the state Mental Hygiene Administration, said people facing serious charges such as rape and other felonies are considered dangerous and automatically sent to Perkins. Patients are constantly monitored, barbed-wire fences surround the building and visitors must clear at least two security checkpoints, he said.
"If we've got someone with charges as severe as rape, we don't want to take any chances at all," Fitch said.
McGlothlin, who has addresses in Harford County and Delta, Pa., has been charged with numerous crimes - including theft, drug offenses and indecent exposure - over several years, according to court records.
In 2001, he was convicted of second-degree escape after failing to show up to serve a 30-day sentence for violation of probation, court records show. He was sentenced to five years in prison with all but 90 days suspended and placed on a year of probation.
State police in Maryland said he also has been accused of assaulting police officers in Pennsylvania.
McGlothlin was arrested Tuesday after a Pennsylvania state trooper saw him about 11:15 p.m. in the Red Lion area.
McGlothlin, on what police said was a stolen motorcycle, led police on a 15-mile chase through the winding country roads of York County at speeds of more than 100 mph, said Trooper Sean Taylor, a criminal investigator with Pennsylvania State Police.
After McGlothlin ditched the motorcycle and dashed into the woods, a police dog found him hiding in a creek bed, Taylor said. The dog bit McGlothlin and held him until officers could grab the suspect.
The license plate and motorcycle helmet were stolen in Lancaster County, police said, and investigators believe that the motorcycle was stolen in Baltimore County. Police also confiscated for testing pills that McGlothlin had with him and were identified as morphine, the trooper said. Those test results will determine whether he also is charged with drug possession.
McGlothlin was taken yesterday to York Hospital to be treated for the dog bite and then to the booking center at the York County Courthouse. There, he was expected to be arraigned on a fugitive from justice warrant filed in Maryland after McGlothlin escaped from the state hospital.
McGlothlin also was to be arraigned on nine active warrants, dating from November last year, for his arrest in Pennsylvania. Most of the open cases stem from alleged burglaries and thefts, Pennsylvania court records show.
But a case filed last week involves an alleged rape from last year that was recently linked to McGlothlin through DNA evidence, police said.
The York Daily Record and The York Dispatch newspapers reported that the rape and kidnapping charges filed Aug. 21 stem from a Nov. 20 assault in Fawn Township in which a man flashed his headlights at a female motorist as they were both driving. When the woman stopped, the man grabbed her by the hair, pulled her into his vehicle, drove to a nearby field and raped her.
McGlothlin's criminal record in Pennsylvania includes convictions for indecent exposure, open lewdness and disorderly conduct, court records show.
McGlothlin had been held at the Harford County Detention Center awaiting trial on charges relating to several thefts in the Bel Air area.
The most recent charges involved the thefts of two motorcycles from a home in October, a pickup truck from an auto dealer in November and all-terrain vehicles from homes later that month. On Aug. 1, McGlothlin filed one plea that he was not competent to stand trial and another plea that he was not criminally responsible.
During a preliminary examination at the detention center, Patricia J. Lackey, a forensic psychologist, was "unable to form a definitive opinion on McGlothlin's competency to stand trial," she later wrote in an assessment in the court file.
Court records show that the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommended Spring Grove for his evaluation and treatment. He was admitted there Aug. 14 for evaluation and inpatient treatment during a 60-day stay allowed by the court.