Sex Offender News August 2017

Recopied from Florida Action Committee

A 25-year-old teacher at Oakleaf High School faces a sex charge after he was arrested Tuesday amid an investigation into inappropriate text messages reported by a student’s parent, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities interviewed the girl, whose age was not listed, and she told them there was a relationship that ended this month. She said the two had sex a “handful of times,” usually in her car at the school’s baseball field in June and July, according to the arrest report. She said they also had sex at the man’s brother’s house.

Franzese was hired in 2016 after a background check that included a screening with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, FBI and the FDLE sexual offender and predator registry, according to the district. All instructors in the district are also screened in the Department of Education database for past disciplinary action.

SOURCE

 


 

While laws keep anyone with a sexual offense anyplace in their history from living within 2500 feet of schools, Florida school teachers are  committing sex crimes.

Yesterday, a Naples, FL teacher was arrested for two counts of sexual assault of a teen, sending information to harm a minor, and obscene communication using a computer to seduce a child.

In June of this year, Leanne Zinser, the Supervisor of Communications and Community Engagement for the Collier County School District responded to an FAC Public Information request by claiming that there was “no document responsive to [our] request because such a list is not maintained by the District”.

Apparently the Collier County School District does not maintain records of teachers or school administrators who sexually assault students.

Well here’s one for you Ms. Zinser!

The Florida Action Committee put in Public Information Requests to the FDLE and the School Boards of every county in the State, asking for the number of registered sex offenders who have been accused of, arrested for or convicted of committing a sexual crime on a school campus during 2016 and the number of teachers, administrators or school staff who have done the same.

The results will shock you!


As Broward State Sen. Lauren Book prepares for her annual walk to raise awareness about child sex abuse, she wants to make sure one of her harshest critics is nowhere near her.

On July 26, Sen. Book filed a petition in Broward Circuit Court seeking a restraining order against Derek Logue, a 40-year-old Ohio man convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in 2001. Logue today is an advocate for registered sex offenders.

You won’t find Sen. Book’s petition at the county courthouse. A clerk in the Broward court’s domestic violence division told a reporter it is confidential. The reason: Florida Statute 119 says that any documents that reveal the identity, address or phone numbers of a potential crime victim are exempt from Florida’s liberal public records law.

Florida Bulldog obtained a copy of her petition from Logue.

Sen. Book claims she fears for her and her family’s safety following physical threats Logue allegedly made against her online and in person during two public events in 2015 and 2016. In addition to seeking to bar Logue from showing up at her annual walk events, she wants to keep him from coming within 500 feet of her home and her offices.

But Broward Circuit Court Judge Michael G. Kaplan rejected Sen. Book’s request for a temporary restraining order on Aug. 9, noting there was insufficient evidence showing she was in immediate danger. A hearing on her request for a permanent restraining order is scheduled for Sept. 1.

Sen. Book declined comment, but her father, prominent Tallahassee lobbyist Ron Book, told Florida Bulldog Logue has been harassing him and his daughter for roughly four years. “We had ignored his harassment because we don’t believe he is terribly relevant,” Book said. “He has little credibility.”

However, Book said the last straw occurred on July 8, when Logue tweeted “I think I found the official Laura Ahearn/ Lauren Book theme song” next to a link to a YouTube video for a song titled, “You Are A C—,” by Australian singer and comedian Kat McSnatch. Ahearn is executive director of Parents for Megan’s Law, a New York-based advocacy group for victims of sex crimes.

Ugly lyrics

Among its provocative lyrics is this ugly line: “Why don’t you shut that scabby c— mouth before I f— up your face.” The crude video also features an image of a tombstone that reads, “R.I.P. Annoying C—.”

According to Ron Book and Sen. Book’s petition, officials from several New York law enforcement agencies advised that Logue’s tweet was a credible death threat. “We were advised to contact local law enforcement and take steps to make sure that the encounters we’ve had with Mr. Logue don’t happen again. When you cross the line and threaten to f—k up someone’s face followed by ‘R.I.P.,’ that is a credible threat,” said Ron Book.

Logue dismissed the Books’ accusations as “a load of hogwash.” He claims the petition is an attempt to stop him from exercising his First Amendment right to speak out against their lifelong campaign against registered sex offenders.

“It is easy to make me look like the bad guy because I am a registered citizen,” Logue told Florida Bulldog. “You may not like my choice of words. I do cuss and I do call people the C word. She is offended by it, but I don’t care. It’s protected free speech.”

He added, “She is simply trying to prevent me from raining on her little parade.”

Sen. Book is the founder and $135,000-a-year chief executive officer of Lauren’s Kids, a non-profit agency that has collected more than $10 million in grants from the Florida Legislature to fund an array of educational programs to convince victims and children advocates to report child sex crimes. However, the effectiveness of the programs have come under fire as Sen. Book has used Lauren’s Kids to elevate her public profile.

The Plantation Democrat, who was sexually abused as a teen by her former nanny, also makes an annual trek on foot from Key West to Tallahassee to raise awareness for child sex victims. This year’s walk is scheduled to begin on Sept. 9.

In her petition, Sen. Book claims that in 2015 Logue traveled to Tallahassee and organized a group of sex offenders in an attempt to disrupt the final mile of her annual walk. “The workers were warned in advance and they were able to keep the walk peaceful with the help of the Capitol Police, the Tallahassee Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,” the petition says.

A year later, Logue traveled to New York City to attend a screening of the documentary Untouchable at the Tribeca Film Festival to harass Sen. Book during a question and answer session, the petition alleges. The Books are prominently featured in the movie about the impact of sex offender laws on individuals convicted of sex crimes.

“During the question and answer segment, he became unruly enough that his microphone was cut off and petitioner was surrounded by New York Police Department officers to protect her,” the petition states. Sen. Book claims she learned of Logue’s July 8 tweet after being contacted by an advocate for Parents of Megan’s Law who saw it and who filed a report with the New York field office of the FBI.

A rally planned for Miami

The petition also noted that Logue’s website OnceFallen.com and a Facebook page he is affiliated with is promoting a rally planned for Miami in September: “The coincidence is palpable.”

In his response to the petition and during an interview with Florida Bulldog, Logue said he has participated in and helped organize demonstrations across the country against sex offender registry laws and other legislation he believes discriminate against sex offenders who have done their time. He has also been interviewed on the topic by CNN, HLN and Russia Today, as well as local and regional news outlets, Logue said.

He said the 2015 demonstration in Tallahassee was peaceful even though Lauren’s Kids officials tried to report him for not registering with the state of Florida for the event. “I am free to travel anywhere in the United States of America,” Logue’s response states. “In fact, I made it a point to contact the Leon County Sheriff’s office to confirm that I would not need to register as a sex offender to visit for less than 48 hours to engage in a peaceful demonstration.”

Logue said he attended the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival because he had been interviewed for Untouchable, but the footage did not make into the documentary. He did make a brief appearance halfway through the film during scenes of the demonstration in Tallahassee. He said he only learned the Books were also in attendance when he arrived for the screening.

Logue said the documentary’s director David Feige asked him not to be too nasty to the Book family and he obliged. He denies disrupting the question and answer session. “I asked her why she preaches that sex offenders don’t deserve second chances when her father is also a convicted criminal that got second and third chances,” Logue said. “She made a snarky remark, I laughed and sat back down.”

On Sept. 21, 1995, Ron Book pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor charges and was fined $2,000 following a criminal investigation that found he violated state law by funneling more than $30,000 in illegal campaign contributions to at least a dozen county and state politicians.

Logue, who isn’t shy about owning up to his sex crime conviction, claims when he went to register in his home state in July, his registration officer told him someone claiming to be a state senator called to complain that he called her a c— and that she was offended by it. “I call a lot of people c—s,” Logue said. “I understand not everyone appreciates crude language. Yet, we elected a president that uses crude language and what not.”

Logue’s lawyer, Jamie Benjamin, did not respond to a phone message seeking comment. Sen. Book’s lawyer, Fort Lauderdale’s David Bogenschutz, said her role as a public official makes her a vulnerable target to threats of a violent nature.

“She and several law enforcement agencies believe [Logue’s behavior] crosses the line between what is protected by the First Amendment and threats that cause individuals to have legitimate concerns for themselves and their family members,” Bogenschutz said. “If it continues, and it has continued, we need the court’s intervention to draw the line for us.”

SOURCE


The following is an excerpt from an article by Nicole I. Pittman and Riya Saha Shah of Impact Justice. The article is titled, “Cruel and Unusual: the Case Against Registering Kids as Sex Offenders” and you understand more, from these personal accounts, how horribly punitive the registry can be for relatively innocent offenses.

“Jason was 14 years old and living in a foster home in Richmond, California, when he met his first girlfriend, a 13-year-old neighbor named Tianna. A few months into their relationship, Tianna’s mother discovered them engaging in oral sex. It was consensual, but the law in California treats any sexual activity with someone under age 14 as child molestation. Jason was prosecuted in juvenile court, and before he was even old enough to drive, his name and address were added to the California Sex Offender Registry.

Brandon was only 11 years old when he was registered as a sex offender—all because of a silly game among kids home alone. In a twist on musical chairs, Brandon’s 13-year-old sister turned off the lights and told everyone to undress and then try to quickly redress before she turned the lights back on. Brandon, always the clown, thought it would be funny if he left his clothes off. When the lights came on, he was standing there naked. Everyone laughed, then he got dressed and they all ate pizza. But when a seven-year-old girl who had taken part in the game told her mother she had seen Brandon’s penis, the police got involved and charged Brandon with indecent exposure. He was adjudicated delinquent in a Texas juvenile court, and from then on known as a sex offender.

Jason is now 34 years old. Despite earning a college degree, he cannot find steady employment, is often homeless, and suffers from acute depression. As a young adult, Brandon also was frequently homeless. Unable to provide a permanent address for the sex offender registry, he was convicted three times for failure to register, and each time sentenced to prison. After his third term in prison, he became increasingly depressed. Unable to find work, he was arrested within a year for theft. Calling Brandon a “career criminal,” the judge sentenced him to 15 years to life. Now 31 years old, Brandon has spent the majority of his life behind bars.”

SOURCE


For nearly three years, county officials and police in Miami-Dade failed to respond as a tent city of sex offenders grew along train tracks near Hialeah. The squalid camp is just the latest consequence of a 2005 county law that banned sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of any school, daycare center, or park, effectively banishing them into homelessness under highway overpasses and the Julia Tuttle Causeway until they were forced into this remote industrial corner. More than 300 offenders are now registered in the area — living without running water, electricity, or plumbing.

Furious local businesses and property owners have repeatedly begged the county to do something, but their grievances fell on deaf ears. That is, until this past Monday.

About two weeks after New Times published an in-depth story about the deplorable conditions in the growing encampment, calling it a “sanitation and security nightmare,” Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust workers, city officials, and police officers visited the site. Now they’ve announced a new campaign they claim will finally find housing for the long-transient sex offenders.

Among those supporting the move is Homeless Trust chairman Ron Book and his daughter, state Sen. Lauren Book, who both visited the camp after New Times‘ story was published. Book, whose day job is an über-influential lobbyist, has long backed the county’s harsh restrictions on sex offender housing. And when New Times contacted him earlier this month, he argued that “the Constitution doesn’t guarantee where you can live when you break the law.” At the time, he insisted he had no intention of reexamining or changing the county’s rules, asserting that “it’s not a question of will [sex offenders] reoffend; it’s a question of when.”

So has Book changed his tune? “This has got to close,” he said of the camp Monday in an interview with the Miami Herald.

The lobbyist insists that, in fact, nothing has changed. Book says the county is simply allocating resources to the sex offenders for temporary rental assistance, such as first month’s rent and security deposits. But he says that service has always been available to the offenders and blames them for lacking the initiative to arrange proper housing.

So why is the county finally stepping in now? “It’s become a health hazard and a health emergency,” Book says. Even though he had no response when New Times asked him about the tent city’s sanitary risks two weeks ago, Book claims, “I was only notified a week ago. Before that, nobody ever said this was a health crisis.”

He admits local property owners have filed complaints over the years but argues that the taxpayer-funded Homeless Trust “[doesn’t] operate based on people complaining.” Instead, Book states that the role of the Trust is to “provide assistance equally to the homeless” but that it is “not [his] job to find housing for sex predators and offenders.”

Because offenders are prohibited from living in most subsidized federal housing and homeless shelters due to the restriction, it is their responsibility “to avail themselves to other funding paths for housing,” Book says. “It’s not a free lunch.”

Even so, many county officials, such as Commissioner Xavier Suarez, insist there must be a better legislative solution to deal with the tent city. In a 2014 interview, Suarez told New Times: “That we restrict where [offenders] can live and not provide any facilities for them isn’t human or logical.”

Regardless, Book says the county will soon announce a deadline to shut down the encampment, essentially evicting the sex offenders once again.

Where will they go when this tent city is closed? That’s up to them, Book says.

SOURCE


It is with a heavy heart I break this news.

Though many of you did not know him, Greg Evers was a Senator and Gentleman Farmer. He chaired the Criminal Justice Committee in Tallahassee for several years. He understood our issue better than most in Tallahassee and although had not sponsored legislation for us directly he helped us more than I could ever explain to you all.

He was a good soul he believed we could do better and this and find solutions.

He introduced me to many in Tallahassee who still have the power to fix this and hopefully may see the light. One can only pray.

Greg was a good man with all his flaws as a human he had a wonderful soul and caring heart. His legacy to me was his decency and much he cared for people and the human condition.

He often said,” where would any of us be if we had to live by these rules and and never given a second chance? I’d be long gone or living in a tent if not for my own many second chances”.

“In Gods grace I pray for him, feel his loss and am sad I won’t ever have the opportunity to chat with him again on this earth. Greg you are in my prayers and I for one will miss you. Gods speed to a better place. Thank you for all you shared with me and others”

Gail


Roughly 260 sex offenders have registered as their residence the intersection of Northwest 36th Court and 71st Street, on the edge of Hialeah and Miami.  The closest house is four blocks away and the only buildings here are squat warehouses.

They start to roll in around 9:30 p.m., just in time for curfew. By the end of the night, around 50 people fill two dozen tents pitched on the ground on either side of the street.

Most people in the encampment wear evidence of their crimes on their ankles,  as devices that beep when they’re out of range. Others just know the rules they must abide by. They’re living in rough conditions–no running water or toilet facilities and flooding is a regular fact of life–in order to comply with laws restricting where sex offenders can sleep at night.

“Rats live better,” said Gregory Baker, aka Claudia, who has lived at the encampment for a year and two months. He was convicted in 2009 for possessing and sending child pornography and attempting to send inappropriate material to a minor. He was told to come to this homeless encampment by his parole officer, who wrote down the address on a piece of paper.

“I was like,  You have to be kidding me,’ ” said Baker. “Apparently they weren’t, because every place that my dad, my sister put an address at, [my probation officer] said no.”

In 2005, Miami-Dade County prohibited offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, daycare centers and playground. It was a response to a similar ordinance passed in the city of Miami Beach, which effectively made it a no-go zone for anyone convicted of a sex crime.

That restriction is in place from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Outside of those hours, sex offenders are allowed more free rein. So some people work, go over to their family’s homes and shop during the day and  sleep in the tent camp at night.

If you draw a 2,500-foot buffer around all of the institutions mentioned in the ordinance, not much of the county is left. Even less when you take out the airports and particularly unaffordable areas where home prices are in the six figures. What is left are bits of Homestead, West Kendall and a few small patches like this one.

In 2007, the Miami New Times broke the story that these restrictions had, in essence, created a sex offender village under the Julia Tuttle Bridge. Social workers sent or dropped off people when they got out of jail and the DMV was printing “Julia Tuttle Causeway” on their driver licenses. The camp was dismantled in 2010 and residents relocated to temporary housing that eventually left them in the street.

This encampment on 71st street, tucked between warehouses next to the railroad tracks, is like the reincarnation of the Julia Tuttle Bridge camp.

And on Monday night, this is what Ron Book, the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust and county officials went out to address.

Teams of Green Shirts, as the homeless outreach workers are called, escorted by Miami-Dade police went tent to tent, handing out a letter written by  Book, president of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, to the deputy mayor about wanting to find a new place for those in this area. They also handed out a blurry black and white map of all the areas in the county that are off limits.

The plan is to help the sex offenders living here to find housing that works with their living restrictions. The Homeless Trust has offered to subsidize part of the expenses through rental or housing assistance.

“The goal tonight is to inform all of the people that are living out here that this is not going to continue,” said Book. “At some point, sooner than later, we’re going to dismantle this place and close it down.”

Over the next week, they Homeless Trust will help process those living in the encampment for rental or housing assistance.

“We have made clear in the memo that they’re being handed [is] that it’s their job to go find a housing opportunity and bring it back to us,” explained Book. “They’ve got to take control of their lives and find housing opportunities.”

They are not passing out a list of available housing, confirmed Book, but he says they’re handing out information to help them go search. He says this is one of the differences in how the Homeless Trust is handling the encampment on 71st street from the one under the Julia Tuttle bridge. The Homeless Trust will not be prioritizing these sex offenders over other homeless people as they did last time.

“What they want to do is wallow in self-pity and blame everybody else for their problem and blame laws and blame this and blame that,” said Book. “They want to sit around and blame other people. They can choose to do that or they can take responsibility for what happened, for the crimes they committed, understanding society and go out and take control.”

The name Book might not be familiar to those living in this homeless encampment, but it’s the name attached to the ordinance restricting sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of places where children go – it’s called the Lauren Book Child Safety Ordinance.

Ron Book himself–who by day is one of the most powerful and influential lobbyists in Florida–drafted and pushed through this county ordinance. His efforts followed the horrible sexual abuse that his daughter suffered through as a child.

The Books’ nanny of six years sexually molested Lauren starting when she was 11. Now, State Senator Lauren Book is married, mother to twins, and an advocate for those who have been sexually abused.

As chair of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, tasked with figuring out what to do with all these people in tents and tarp shacks, Ron Book was behind the 2005 law that made it more difficult for these sex offenders to find anywhere else to live.

But Book rejects the notion that he should be held personally responsible for their difficulties.

“They can blame me all they want.  I’ve never shied away from my work to make our community and our state and our country safer so that what happened to my daughter, doesn’t happen to them,” said Book.

Lauren Book, the namesake of the Miami-Dade County restrictions, was out with her father and the green shirts, talking with the sex offenders living out among the warehouses.

“This is not easy to do, for me, for my dad,” said Lauren Book. She has made a point over the years to visit with and try to understand the behavior of sex offenders in an attempt to prevent what happened to her from happening to other children.

“I don’t feel badly for these individuals. There are laws that were broken. You did some terrible bad things. That does not mean that anybody should be in a desperate situation,” said  Lauren Book.

When asked about how she feels to have her name attached to the legislation that is an undeniable part of the formula that has led to this homeless encampment, she said that while she is proud of her engagement with the issue, there is not an easy answer.

“The truth is this is not a black and white issue,” she said. “The minute you start to think you can broad-brush this issue you’re in a terribly bad place, so I would be lying if I wasn’t conflicted.”

And, Lauren Book adds emphatically, she and her father don’t agree about everything when it comes to this issue.

“We fight all the time, very badly. You should see dinner at our house,” she said.

But they do agree on the residency restrictions.

“Ron Book, I beg you to come out here and live one day the way that we live and this will never ever happen,” said Gregory Baker. “They will change their story so fast it will make their head spin around.”

He says if he could find an address he would be gone immediately.

“I’d be burning rubber. That’s how quick I could get out of here. If they came and told me, ‘Hey, [you have] this address,’ phew, you wouldn’t see me. I’d be gone.  You’d see smoke,” said Baker.

SOURCE


 

A tent community in northwest Miami-Dade is a place people call home but it’s not a place most of them would want to live.

The community is the last resort for people like Bret, who would only give his first name.

“Absolutely not, I wouldn’t even come into this part of town if I didn’t have to be here,” he told NBC 6 Monday. “I was released from state prison on February 21. I am a registered sex offender”

County restrictions on where registered sex offenders are allowed to live has many of them at the industrial area near Northwest 71st Street and Northwest 36th Avenue.

“This situation is unconscionable and needs to be closed down,” said Ron Book, the chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.

Book said he and others are working to relocate those who call the place home. Miami-Dade County officials say the businesses there have said enough is enough.”

“These folks that have businesses here, they’ve put up with this for several years, people eating out here, throwing their garbage, people urinating and defecating in public, it creates a health hazard for them and the businesses and property owners,” Book said.

“Yes, we do have definitely concerns but we are working on mitigating those concerns as we speak but the main issue here is to try to relocate,” said Lillian Rivera, with the Florida Department of Health.

County workers will be out explaining the resources that are available and working to encourage this community to break down in coming days.


Seven years after Miami-Dade County shut down a camp housing about 100 homeless sex offenders under a bridge in Miami, it’s now trying to deal with an encampment on the outskirts of Hialeah that has almost three times as many residents registered to live there.

Police and social workers on Monday night visited the roughly 30 tents set up near warehouses that sit by railroad tracks outside Hialeah’s city limits, the legally registered homes of more than 200 people convicted of sex offenses against minors and barred from living within 2,500 feet of schools, parks, daycare centers and other places where children congregate.

“This has got to close,” said Ronald Book, the powerful head of Miami-Dade’s homeless board who has also lobbied for the county’s tough residency restrictions on sex offenders. “The complaints have continued to grow and grow and grow.”

The encampment, in the area for about three years, stands as the latest replacement for the one under the Julia Tuttle Causeway in Miami that brought global attention to the county’s restrictions on homeless sexual offenders. More than 100 sex offenders lived in the encampment, some delivered there by probation officers after the convicts couldn’t find another place to legally reside.

Book said about 270 offenders are registered as living in the tent village outside Hialeah, sitting on either side of the 3500 block of Northwest 71st Street. There is no electricity, running water or bathroom facilities, leading to complaints of human waste being tossed roadside and around the warehouses whose fences front the tents. Others use bathrooms at a Wal-Mart and a Walgreens about a mile away.

Claudia Marie Baker, 58, who said she spent nine years in prison on child-pornography charges, has lived in a tent there for about a year. “My sister has five different real estate people looking for places for me,” said Baker, who said she was convicted as a man, Gregory Baker. “Every place they picked, it was too close.”

The 2,500-foot restriction is far tougher than Florida’s 1,000-foot rule, but matches the limit for some local governments across the country, including Lake County near Orlando and Pasco County north of Tampa. In dense Miami-Dade, hemmed in by the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean, the 2,500-foot rule eliminates wide swaths of Miami-Dade’s housing stock as an option. The county also bars sex offenders from homeless shelters where families are housed, making most of the tax-funded emergency housing off limits, too.

Miami-Dade adopted the 2,500 limit in 2010 after the Tuttle controversy, replacing a patchwork of city laws that generally had the same distance in their sex-offender restrictions.

Book, a prominent lobbyist, visited the camp with county homeless staff who take direction from him, and with daughter Lauren Book, a Democratic state senator who runs a nonprofit, Lauren’s Kids, dedicated to fighting child sexual abuse. The elder Book’s advocacy for the county’s sex-offender law — named after Lauren Book, a childhood abuse victim — landed him at the center of the Julia Tuttle controversy, with some tent residents naming the encampment Bookville.

The county shut down the Tuttle encampment in 2010, and Book said the homeless agency placed the more than 100 residents in private apartments and other residences outside of shelters and in compliance with the 2,500-foot limit. Monday’s deployment was designed to start a similar process, with the county offering to help with rental subsidies and placement to get the tent residents to move. The action followed a New Times story profiling the tent village in early August.

There have been other encampments in Miami since the Tuttle one closed, including one in Miami that lasted until 2012 when the city created a tiny park that triggered the 2,500-foot restriction. Book said any former Tuttle residents living in the Hialeah encampment would have lost a prior home, since Miami-Dade determined each registered Tuttle offender had found a place to live.

Miami-Dade’s restrictions on where sexual offenders live largely survived a suit by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2014, which was filed for anonymous plaintiffs that a lawyer said Monday were living in tents near Hialeah at the time. A federal judge rejected the bulk of the ACLU’s complaint that the local law constituted unfair punishment, but the nonprofit is appealing whether the county can enforce restrictions on offenders convicted before the law went into effect.

Jeff Hearne, a Miami lawyer working on the case, said the county rules create the problem that Miami-Dade spent Monday night trying to solve.

“It’s our position that forcing people into homelessness is punitive,” Hearne said.

Because probation rules require sex offenders to sleep at the addresses where they’re registered, he said, many tent residents could afford to live elsewhere if they were allowed to do so.

“Many of them have places they can go to,” he said. “They have family members who have homes that can keep them there. Many of them have rooms they rent to keep personal belongings. But at night, they’re forced to go out and sleep in tents.”


Earlier this week, the Florida Action Committee sent a letter to the County Commissioners for Miami-Dade County, requesting the repeal of the sex offender residency restriction that has caused over 250 individuals to live in squalor, without shelter or sanitation alongside active railroad tracks.

A link to the letter can be found here: https://floridaactioncommittee.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Letter-To-M-D-County-Commissioners-08282017.pdf

The letter also contains references to recent news articles and current studies on the negative effects of SORRs.

Please feel free to cite the research contained in this letter, when drafting letters to the commissioners of your own Counties.


Shalimar, Florida’s WEAR ran a story on the newly designed Florida driver’s licenses. One surprising opinion about the new license came from a retired parole officer, who commented on the sex offender designation on licenses for those registered. Here’s what he had to say:

The new license turns heads in Okaloosa County; including Don Gatchell’s. He’s a retired parole officer with the state of Florida who worries an old, but remodeled feature – a mandatory sexual offender identification on the card – may be too much.

“My honest opinion now that I have been out of it for 10 years, retired, I think we’re overdoing it with the sex offenders. I mean, I know there are some guys out there, sex offenders, that are bad, but not all sex offenders are bad. You got people out there who are on probation for underage sex for example,” Gatchell said. He worries the ID will cause unnecessary prejudice in the lives of those impacted

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