Violent Sex Offender Absconding from Texas Sentenced to Prison

By Benjamin Cox on June 28, 2023 at 5:29am

A violent sex offender absconder arrested in Pike County was sentenced to federal prison on Monday.

63 year old Robert W. Niffen, formerly of Houston, Texas was arrested by Pike County Sheriff’s Deputies after juveniles reported a suspicious man on a bicycle in Barry last June. A complainant reported to the Sheriff’s Office that her juvenile daughter and a friend were out walking around Barry when an older man riding a bicycle approached them and began speaking with them. According to a report from the Department of Justice, Niffen had been absconding from the State of Texas, working odd jobs and remaining in Pike County staying in various places. Pike County Sheriff’s Deputies say that Niffen approached the group of girls in Barry, offering them marijuana and the use of a hot tub. Subsequent to that investigation, Niffen was arrested on a parole warrant from the Texas Department of Corrections. Before he was arrested, Niffen initially presented a fictitious name to officers and then ran away.

The Texas Department of Corrections warrant listed Niffen’s original charges as aggravated rape and escape from a penal institution. Niffen was convicted of rape in 1981 and spent 20 years in prison and is required to register as a sex offender for life. The Texas Department of Corrections also listed Niffen as a violent sex offender absconder. Pike County Sheriff David Greenwood said at the time that Niffen has a lengthy criminal history.

Niffen’s charges in Pike County were dropped and deferred to the federal Central District Court of Illinois.

On Monday, Judge Colleen Lawless sentenced Niffen to 20 months in federal prison, 7 years of mandatory supervised release, and ordered him to pay a $100 special assessment fee. Judge Lawless’ order also says that Niffen should serve his prison term in a facility that can provide medical and mental health treatment and counseling, as well as expose him to programs for educational and vocational training.