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High-profile sex offender facing new charges now facing a much higher bond, too

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BATON ROUGE - Mark Russell, a high-profile sex offender whose initial low bond on a recent arrest  on allegations he raped a 17-year-old while posing as a police officer, was issued a new bond Friday afternoon.  A judge set his bond at $285,000.

Judge Don Johnson also said if Russell is able to secure a bond, he will be on house arrest and have an electronic monitor until trial.  

Russell was arrested in April when Baker Police said he impersonated a police officer and raped a 17-year-old.  Then, the victim said, Russell was driving what appeared to be an unmarked police car and stopped the victim. Russell convinced the 17-year-old to go back to his house and allegedly sexually assaulted him there, police told WBRZ.

Russell was arrested and released on a $13,000 bond. Following numerous reports by the WBRZ Investigative Unit highlighting concerns over the bail set by Judge Chip Moore, the district attorney filed to have Russell's bond revoked.

After two missed hearings, Russell was re-arrested and appeared before a judge Friday where the new bond amount was set.

"I believe [the new bond amount is] warranted because of the serious nature of the charge," Judge Johnson said.

Russell missed two previous hearings over the bond because he was hospitalized following a suicide attempt.  After the second missed hearing, a judge ordered Russell to jail to be evaluated there.  

Also Friday, a judge revealed the court-ordered doctor's thoughts on Russell.  A doctor found Russell has a normal mental status but recommended extra treatment, which the judge ordered Russell to complete. 

Russell was convicted in 1993 of rape, molestation of a juvenile, and sexual battery.

He was also accused of an unrelated attack in 2015 but the district attorney recently dismissed those charges after the victim recanted his statements.

Russell could face life in prison if convicted on the most recent charge related to the alleged attack against the 17-year-old. 

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