sex offenders

MGN Online

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement wants to revise a law further cracking down on sex offenders that was slated to take effect a couple months ago.

MGN Online

Florida Department of Corrections’ probation officers will be working with law enforcement across the state Monday to ensure sex offenders are not interacting with kids this Halloween.

LHatter / WFSU News

Feelings of betrayal, hurt, anger and outrage were on display Thursday as residents of Woodville protested a transition center housing sex offenders and predators. The issue has been building in recent days, and Thursday the operators of the center--a local church--announced they would shutter the facility after a cease-and-desist order from the county. But Woodville residents still have bitter feelings.

Leon County Schools logo
Leon County Schools

Leon County has sent a cease-and-desist order to the Good Samaritan Church in Woodville. The church’s homeless transition ministry, is at the center of concerns about sex offenders housed at the church’s thrift store and their proximity to Woodville Elementary School.

Dozens of new laws take effect Wednesday, despite a session that came to a screeching halt over health care reform. Cable and cell phone subscribers will get a tax break, voters will be able to register online and drone operators could be facing lawsuits.

City of Jacksonville

UPDATE: In a statement sent Thursday morning, Governor Rick Scott's office says, "Governor Scott looks forward to signing the legislation."

Bills aimed at keeping sexual predators away from children are headed toward Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s desk after unanimously passing the House today. Law enforcement officers helped craft the laws they say should keep prior offenders from falling through the cracks to prey on kids again.

Florida House of Representatives

*Correction: It was originally reported that Florida has a total of 8,000 registered sex offenders and predators. But, those only represent offenders that are still on probation and under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. FDLE reports that there are 63,000 total registered offenders and predators. The original numbers were taken from the bill's staff analysis. 

Capital Report: 03-04-2014

Mar 4, 2014

As Florida Senate President Don Gaetz promised, his chamber passed several bills on the first day of session aimed at denying convicted sex offenders the chance to hurt children.  But, as Jessica Palombo reports, critics of the crackdown say it does nothing to prevent first-time offenses, which they say make up the majority of crimes against kids.

The Florida Channel

As Senate President Don Gaetz had promised, his chamber passed several bills on the first day of session aimed at denying convicted sex offenders the chance to hurt children. But critics of the crackdown say it does nothing to prevent first-time offenses, which they say make up the majority of crimes against kids.

For Diena Thompson, the sex predator legislation is personal. The mother from the Jacksonville suburb of Orange Park said she was at the Capitol Tuesday because of her daughter Somer.

MGN Online

A bipartisan package of sex predator bills is now heading for a floor vote in both the House and Senate.

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday banning sex offenders from owning pornography. They also approved a measure that cracks down on repeat offenders who expose themselves in a vulgar way in public. Stuart Republican Representative Gayle Harrell is a sponsor of that bill.

Lawmakers Pass Package Of Sex Offender Reforms

Feb 12, 2014

Members of the House Appropriations Committee passed five different measures that do everything from requiring more information from sex offender registrants to requiring that victims and local law enforcement be notified when an offender is released from the Department of Children and Families’ care.

Capital Report: 01-24-2014

Jan 27, 2014

Water issues are taking center stage in the run up to Florida’s 2014 legislative session, and this week environmental activists joined together to declare that every Floridian has the right to clean water.As Ryan Benk reports, they’re pressuring politicians to sign a recently-drafted “declaration” of water rights that was the subject of statewide rallies this week. But, since the declaration is neither petition, nor legislation, some wonder: to what end?

Florida Channel

A huge goal of Florida lawmakers this year is to crack down on sexual predators who prey on children and the disabled. A couple of Senate panels earlier this week passed several measures, and one House committee took up another slew of bills aimed at clearing up loopholes in Florida’s current law and increase penalties in other areas for certain sex offenses.

Florida Channel

Florida lawmakers advanced several bills Tuesday aimed at cracking down on the state’s sexual offenders. They’re part of a bipartisan package of legislation looking to address weaknesses in the Sexually Violent Predator Program.

Sexually violent predators are normally supposed to undergo an evaluation and could be recommended for what’s called civil commitment, where the offender is detained for treatment. But some were avoiding that process and committing new crimes, as in the murder of eight-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle, who was killed by a repeat offender.

Two bills dealing with how Florida prosecutes and punishes sex offenders passed their first legislative hurdle Monday. One bill deals with statutes of limitations while the other stiffens penalties for sex offenses.

Florida Senate

A bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers has filed a raft of bills for the 2014 legislative session aimed at keeping children safe from sex offenders. The bills would beef up the sentencing and monitoring of sexual predators.

Senate President Don Gaetz calls the package of bills this year’s “centerpiece” and says he looks forward to sending it to Gov. Scott early in the session. 

Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Orange Park) is sponsoring a bill that would lengthen criminal sentences and monitoring of predators.

Lakeland Republican Senator Kelli Stargel petitioned her colleagues in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee to broaden an existing ban on pornography. The law already prohibits sex-offenders from viewing or possessing pornography related to their conviction. Florida Action Committee President Gail Colletta agreed reforms to sex offender statutes are needed but questioned the senator’s approach.

Indian River County Sheriffs Office

House lawmakers Wednesday attempted to square the state’s sex offender laws with the prospect of what to do with juveniles who break them.

Fourth Circuit Public Defender Rob Mason argued before the subcommittee that trying minors in the adult justice system only makes it more likely that they will re-offend. What’s more, he  claimed any children placed on sex offender registries become more likely, not less, to commit a similar crime again.

The Florida Channel

Florida lawmakers held joint committee meetings this week to gather information on the state’s Sexually Violent Predator Program, which has been under fire for failing to stop predators from reoffending.

The Florida Channel

After a newspaper’s investigative series questioned the effectiveness of Florida’s Sexually Violent Predator Program, the Department of Children and Families commissioned an independent study to gauge its effectiveness. The results of that study were debated by lawmakers and policy experts during a joint Senate session Tuesday.

Bay News 9

A little less than ten weeks ago, 8-year old Cherish Perrywinkle’s abduction and death at the hands of registered sexual predator Donald Smith made national headlines.  It also prompted the Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper to run an investigative series looking at the number of released offenders who reoffend.

That series led Fernandina Beach State Representative Janet Adkins to call a town hall meeting in Jacksonville earlier this week. She said as a parent and a public servant she wants to see more done to strengthen current statutes.

A number of bills aimed at limiting harm to children passed a Senate committee on Tuesday. The proposals include one to keep sex offenders out of summer camps and a controversial change to the way the state investigates infant deaths.

Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) said, a couple of years ago, he read some disturbing stories in the Palm Beach Post about who’s working in Florida summer camps. He says there are hundreds of cases like this one: