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Medford police warn of sex offender approaching shoppers

Medford police today are warning residents to be wary of a registered sex offender with a history of targeting women and girls who recently has used a friendly smile and a Bible during what police fear are attempts to grope victims.

Curtis Eugene Fleming, 40, was recently outside Medford businesses on at least two occasions attempting to shake hands with shoppers — and twice he approached a female Jackson County Community Justice employee who recognized the convicted felon, police said.

After the woman's Friday encounter outside of the Sportsman's Warehouse in north Medford, he was arrested on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender, police said.

In the past, Fleming has recruited victims by enticing them to play clothing- switching games and used magazine sales to grope women customers during good-luck hugs, Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.

"A lot of people will see this type of behavior, shake his hand or give him a hug and not know what's going on," Budreau said. "Based on his history, we think he's doing this for sexual gratification.

"We just want people to know who he is and be cautious of him," Budreau said.

Fleming, who has used a suite of aliases and spent most of the 2000s in jail or prison, was set for arraignment this afternoon in Jackson County Circuit Court on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender.

The tall, slender Fleming, who gave police an address on the 300 block of South Holly Street, has used the aliases Curtis Gleming, Curtis Kincannon and Jack Mackiness, according to court records.

He was convicted in 2003 of second-degree kidnapping and harassment in a case in which he convinced a pair of 13-year-old girls he met on West Eighth Street to exchange articles of clothing as part of a game, Budreau said. Fleming then grabbed one of the girls and attempted to drag her into nearby bushes before the other victim helped her escape his clutch and they fled, Budreau said.

Fleming was sentenced in that case to 70 months in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender when released, records show.

In 2000, Fleming was indicted on two counts each of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct and attempting to commit a Class A felony, court records show. The child-pornography charges were dropped in a plea deal and he was sentenced to three years in prison and two months in jail on the two remaining charges and ordered to register as a sex offender.

Fleming first faced misdemeanor sex-abuse charges in 1998 for allegedly groping women while giving good-luck hugs after selling them magazines in Medford, Budreau said.

Court records show the misdemeanor sex-abuse charges were dropped, and he pleaded guilty to a harassment charge and was sentenced to probation.

— Mark Freeman

Curtis Eugene Fleming