Probationers re-arrest Lufkin sex offender

Rodney Keels mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Rodney Keels mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Jeff Awtrey - email

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Lufkin Police and the Angelina County Probation Office has managed to track down a Lufkin sex offender who they say was avoiding them.

Rodney Merle Keels, 58, pleaded guilty in June of 2010 to online solicitation of a minor. He accepted a sentence of 180 days in jail and 10 years probation.

Since then, Keels was accused of not following terms of his probation, which include attending alcohol abuse meetings and sex offender therapy sessions.

Keels did not attend a court hearing in February and his probation officer, Lisa Page, filed a violation report.

Dustin Fore, a supervisor with the probation department, said Page attempted to locate Keels at his residence, but learned he was no longer living there.

"I think after the KTRE report aired about him not going to the hearing, he tried to hide from us," Fore said.

Fore said the department learned Keels was going to a Lufkin restaurant and drinking, another violation of his probation. But when employees there saw the report, they told him not to come back.

"Friday, we got information that the was at Texas Inn and Suites and drinking there, so we were able to contact police to come with us and they arrested him there," Fore said.

Page has submitted documents to the district attorney's office, requesting a motion to revoke his probation.

Keels was initially arrested in November 2009 for trying to develop a sexual relationship with who he thought was a 13-year-old girl. He was actually chatting with an undercover agent in New York.

If his probation is revoked, Keels faces up to 20 years in prison.

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