Police arrest homeless man in viral story for failing to register as a sex offender

–Photo courtesy New Bedford Police Department

A homeless man who was part of a viral story earlier this week after a Wareham woman used her lottery winnings to get him out of the freezing cold was arrested Thursday for failing to register as a sex offender.

Glenn Williams, 59, was arrested at a Parker Street apartment in New Bedford at 10 a.m., a New Bedford police spokesman told Boston.com. He said that Williams is a Level 2 sex offender.

Sofia Andrade, a single mother of three, spent $200 she won on a scratch ticket to reserve a room for Williams for two nights at the Rosewood Inn after seeing him out in the bitter cold. She then launched a GoFundMe page to “help give Glenn a second chance,’’ which raised more than $14,000. It has since been removed from the site.

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The story of Andrade’s generosity got picked up by more than 100 media outlets, both local and national.

“I dont know the details of [Glenn’s] arrest in 1994 over a decade ago…this [doesn’t] in any way change my feels towards helping someone in need,’’ Andrade wrote on her Facebook page. “I am asking that those who have donated and to those who 2 minutes ago were saying nice things about the cause of homelessness we have [shed] light on please refain from negative comments.’’

Andrade also wrote that the money previously raised through the campaign would be donated to local charities and organizations that benefit the homeless.

According to a statement written on Williams’ behalf to South Coast Today, the 1994 conviction stems from accusations made by the daughter of a woman he had been dating who said he touched her inappropriately.

“I had a public defender who recommended I take a plea bargain to get this over with,’’ the statement said. “I never realized what that would really mean … that I would become a sex offender. These allegations have ruined my life, causing me to lose my job, my life, respect. I eventually fell into homelessness 3 years ago. I am humiliated by these lies. I want to kill myself.’’

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Andrade has stood behind Williams despite his arrest, saying that everyone has parts of their past that don’t make them proud.

I just wanted to take the time so say thank you to everyone who despite the news still had nice things to say. I know i...

Posted by Sofia Lorena on Thursday, February 18, 2016
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