A registered sex offender who was arrested Sunday in Concord for allegedly fondling a 9-year-old girl at a Costco store is scheduled to be arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez this afternoon.Lawrence Halbert, a 50-year-old Concord man, has been charged with committing a felony lewd act on a child under 14 and two felony sex offender registration violations. He is also facing multiple enhancements related to his prior convictions, according to court records.According to Concord police Sgt. Mike Finney, Halbert was at the Costco store at 2400 Monument Blvd. Sunday when he allegedly reached down and fondled a 9-year-old girl’s buttocks.The child’s father allegedly saw the act and confronted Halbert.Halbert allegedly told the father that he had touched the child accidentally, but the father didn’t believe him and called police.One of the officers who responded to the call had been assigned to monitor Halbert and knew he was a repeat sex offender, Finney said.As a registered sex offender, “he’s not allowed to have an accident,” Finney said.Halbert has three prior convictions for sexual crimes that include a 1979 conviction for molesting a child under 14, a 1980 conviction for a violent rape, and second rape and sexual assault conviction in 1989, Finney said.Halbert served his entire sentence and spent years at Atascadero State Hospital in the sexually violent predator treatment program, but was released without parole in 1998. He lived in Oakland until 2007 when he moved to Concord and police have been monitoring him ever since, Finney said.”There was a high probability he would re-offend,” Finney said, citing Halbert’s alleged lack of remorse for his previous crimes.”The problem is that these guys don’t stop,” Finney said.Halbert’s bail has been set at $1.65 million. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m.Because of his prior convictions, Halbert could face a life sentence if he is convicted of the current charges under the state’s three strikes law, Finney said.
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