Man arrested for sex crimes at New Hanover Downtown Library

Man arrested for sex crimes at New Hanover Downtown Library
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 4:39 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Detectives and Patrol Deputies with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office arrested Franklin Watt Mills for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman at the New Hanover County Main Library in Downtown Wilmington on August 10 in the early morning.

Franklin Watt Mills, a homeless man, was reportedly seen on video surveillance in the parking deck located at 201 Chestnut St. assaulting a female victim. Detectives met with the homeless woman and say they were able to identify Mills from the footage.

Detectives found and arrested Mills at the 3rd St. WAVE bus station.

Mills has been charged with Second Degree Rape, Second Degree Sexual Assault and Sexual Battery. He is being held under a $500,000 secure bond.

New Hanover County has sent out this statement:

New Hanover County has been proactively working on a plan to identify solutions and help support individuals who are homeless throughout the community. We understand that this has become a public safety and public health issue, particularly on the downtown block near the library, and we are committed to doing all we can to protect our community and provide the right supports for those who are experiencing crises. This plan will include wrap-around support services and case management for homeless individuals, as well as help ensure compliance with rules. The alleged assault that occurred this week further emphasizes the need for this comprehensive plan, and the county will be working with our partners to bring that forward and to fruition in the coming weeks.

Currently, the county has a social worker at the downtown library who works with homeless individuals and in partnership with Wilmington Development Inc.’s outreach specialist. In addition, county staff try and empty trash cans and dispose of garbage regularly, but an abundance of personal belongings has made those efforts difficult. Additional tools are being researched currently for a more thorough and continued clean-up of the site, without causing significant displacement.

As comprehensive plans and clean-up efforts continue and are finalized, the community will be kept informed.”

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