Released Sex Offender Captured, Charged With Rape

Authorities in South Carolina captured a convicted sex offender who police say raped two teenage girls in an underground "dungeon" behind his house.

Kenneth Hinson, 47, was recaptured near his home in the town of Hartsville, the U.S. Marshal's service told The Associated Press.

Police said Hinson kidnapped the two young women from the mobile home next door where they were sleeping. Authorities said the convicted sex offender dragged them, one at a time, to a wooden underground bunker, which appeared newly built and sat underneath a shed behind his trailer.

He is accused of tying up the girls and sexually assaulting them, and then running into the woods.

Authorities believe the girls shook themselves loose and then flagged down a passing driver. They were taken to a relative's house where they called authorities. Police responded with bloodhounds.

A Past Conviction for Assaulting a Young Girl

Hinson has already served a long prison sentence for sexual misconduct.

He was convicted in 1991 for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl. The state tried to put him in a mental institution, but a judge rejected the idea.

"We really don't know that. The judge has to make the decision of whether he thinks there is probable cause that the person will reoffend," said South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster. "But when the evidence got to the judge, the judge decided otherwise."

"Well, of course, what we thought then, the judge made a mistake, and if all this is true that we hear today, of course, it appears that the man should have gone into the system certainly, especially when you see where the two sex attacks took place."

The dungeon was in a rural area where there were lots of dirt roads, trees and mobile homes. A hole had been dug under the shed. It had a wooden ladder with four or five steps, and was 5 feet by 8 feet wide with a wooden floor and about 4 feet high, with one lightbulb, according to McMaster.

Hinson is accused of duct-taping the girls' mouths and raping them one at a time.

"I'm just sorry that these two 17-year-old girls have had to be the victim of a system failure," McMaster said. "First of all, the man was sentenced to 18 years for the crime, almost the same crime in 1991. He got out after nine years. That was the first mistake. If he'd stayed in there the whole time, if they didn't have all these early-release programs, he would still be in jail and these two young girls would be getting up right now and going to school."

ABC News' Steve Osunsami contributed to this story.

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