A convicted sex offender from Ohio who has been charged twice with stalking was recently arrested in West Virginia for allegedly following a female student on Marshall University campus.
According to WSAZ, police said this isn’t the first time they’ve encountered Michael Hankins, 40, after following women around campus. Surveillance cameras reportedly caught the 40-year-old stalking a student in his car before exiting the vehicle in the parking lot and chasing after her.
The female student reportedly ran into a building, prompting Hankins to get back into his car and leave the scene. The Herald-Dispatch reported that officers pulled Hankins over a short time later and the victim identified him as her stalker.
Hankins was convicted in December 2007 of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and corruption of a minor and was ordered to be on the sex registry for 10 years. Sheriff Jeff Lawless told WSAZ that he’s scheduled to be removed from the registry in 2021 due to repeated jail stints which put the 10-year sentence on hold.
Records obtained by the newspaper indicated that he was charged with stalking twice in 2013 and pleaded no contest. In exchange, he was sentenced to nine months of unsupervised probation.
The newspaper noted that Hankins was charged with indecent exposure charges in 2014 and 2018 but the charges were dismissed.
Hankins is known by the Marshall University Police Department due to two incidents female students reported in January 2016 and 2017.
In 2016, a female student claimed Hankins followed her in a parking lot. She said Hankins only drove off when another car drove up behind him. A year later, an officer reportedly witnessed him following another female student on foot. The officer ordered him to stay off campus.
Hankins is charged with forgery and trespassing, though local police said additional charges are forthcoming. His bond is currently set at $20,000.
Marshall University issued a statement to WSAZ, saying, “Efforts to educate the university community about personal safety are part of a continuing conversation on campus including discussions in UNI 100 classes, digital signage with safety tips and opportunities to attend security courses.”
[Featured Image: Michael Hankins/Handout]