Crime

Repeat sex offender apologizes after exposing himself at Rock Hill Waffle House

A registered sex offender serving prison time for sex crimes at the York County jail was sentenced to two more years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to performing a sex act on himself at a Rock Hill Waffle House.

It’s possible that Tony McKinley Dillard, whom prosecutors said has a criminal history of sex crimes dating back 25 years, could remain in legal custody if state officials successfully classify him as a sexually violent predator.

Dillard, 45, has convictions for sex crimes in Virginia, Florida and South Carolina, 16th Circuit Solicitor Erin Joyner said. He also has convictions in New York and Virginia for other crimes. Dillard was released from a Florida prison in 2012, after serving 14 years for sexual assault, Joyner said.

In the Waffle House case, Dillard was arrested by Rock Hill police in July 2016 after employees reported that Dillard had exposed himself while in a booth. Employees outside the restaurant could see Dillard performing a sex act through the plate glass windows, and a waitress also witnessed Dillard’s actions, Joyner said.

While out on bond from that arrest, Dillard was charged with a sex assault and kidnapping in a different incident, alleged to have happened at a Rock Hill motel. Those charges were dismissed as part of Tuesday’s plea deal, Joyner said in court.

Dillard pleaded guilty to indecent exposure Tuesday under what is called an Alford plea. In an Alford plea, a defendant pleads guilty, and accepts the consequences of a guilty plea, while recognizing the likelihood of conviction if the case went to trial, but does not admit guilt.

Dillard apologized for his actions and said he wanted to “be a man” and take responsibility for his behavior.

“I want to apologize to the establishment where the incident was,” Dillard said. “I want to apologize to the young lady sitting in the back. . . I just want to get it over with and go home to my family. . . I want to own up to my responsibilities of being a man.”

In a September trial, a jury found Dillard guilty of indecent exposure while in jail awaiting trial. The day before, in a separate trial, Dillard had been found not guilty of other alleged sex acts in jail, said Geoff Dunn, Dillard’s lawyer.

Dillard was sentenced to three years for the September indecent exposure conviction.

The judge also ordered that Dillard be subject to South Carolina’s sexually violent predator screening.

South Carolina’s sexually violent predator program is a civil lawsuit action that state prosecutors can take against sex crime defendants. Prosecutors argue some sex criminals pose a risk to the public if released from prison. If a jury in a civil case finds that the sex offender is a predator, then only a court order can release that person from a state mental health institution after the person’s prison sentence is completed.

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