A man has escaped the state treatment center for sex offenders (searchwhere he was committed 19 years ago after being charged with child rape, officials said Monday.

John McIntyre apparently left the building through a second-story window, lowering himself by an electrical cord or wire, and then had scaled an 18-foot perimeter fence topped with razor wire, Correction Commissioner Michael Maloney said.

McIntyre is considered a serious threat to the public.

"The court has found him to be sexually dangerous and committed him to a day to life in prison. I would consider him dangerous, yes," Maloney said.

Department of Correction spokesman Justin Latini said McIntyre, 40, was committed to the treatment center in November 1984.

He was committed indefinitely in lieu of a criminal conviction. McIntyre had been charged with crimes including indecent assault and battery on a child, rape and abuse of a child, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping and larceny.

McIntyre was housed in the Community Transition House (searchin Bridgewater, which gives residents an opportunity to live under less restrictive conditions while engaging in treatment.

Maloney said McIntyre was one of only five inmates selected for the program. He said McIntyre was a "good inmate" and he knew of no previous escape attempts by him.

He was present for an inmate count at 9:30 p.m. Sunday and reported missing at around 11 p.m., Maloney said. There was no indication he received outside assistance.

Immediately after the escape was discovered, correction officials notified police in the areas where McIntyre once lived and where his victims live, Latini said.

Escape posts were set up in Bridgewater (search) to look for McIntyre and more than 900 residents were notified Monday by an automated telephone calling system. A horn also sounded to notify residents of the escape.

The treatment center has come under scrutiny recently due to its past release of several men later accused of murder.

The center is the same facility that once treated Paul Nolin, who has been accused of the murder of 20-year-old Jonathan Wessner, whose body was found earlier this month buried under rocks on a beach.

A convicted child rapist, Nolin was transferred in 1995 from the Bridgewater facility to a state prison, where he became eligible for parole. He was paroled in 2000 and went to live with a priest who had been his psychologist at the Bridgewater center.

Two other former prisoners were convicted of murder in the early 1990s: Michael Kelley, who murdered two women in Plymouth less than a year after his release, and Ronald Leftwich, a rapist who beat a pastor to death a year after his release.