|Sex offender speaks out|
By Erik Waxler
ZEPHYRHILLS - "We don't like who we are. We don't like what we've done. We feel not at peace with it, and we feel very ashamed," said registered sex offender [name withheld].
He is speaking for himself and not all ex-sex offenders. Your past doesn't define "who you are!"
[name withheld] says he didn't set out to be a sex offender. But when his wife died of cancer, his life fell apart.
"I was very, very, very depressed. I was angry," said [name withheld].
[name withheld] says that's what led him to molest his adopted teenage daughter over a two-year period.
He served prison time and is now living in Zephyrhills, where Detective Scott Anderson checks up on him and hundreds of other sex offenders and predators.
"It really strikes home when you work these investigators and you see that child could be my child," said Anderson.
The Sheriff's Office has three detectives specifically assigned to keep track of the more than 800 sex offenders in Pasco County.
"I haven't gone trick or treating with my daughter in four years because I'm out every Halloween dealing with sex offenders," said Anderson.
Anderson says he often hears from concerned residents. "I tell them now that you know you have a sex offender local, keep on your toes. Notify your other neighbors what's going on," said Anderson.
Because it's not easy for him to find housing, [name withheld] shares a trailer with three other sex offenders, but he says they get along with neighbors just fine. "Once they know us, because we keep our lawns, we keep our yards, we help people when we can."
Detectives in this unit check in on up to sex offenders 20 a day and they visit four times a year, making sure they are were they say they are and doing the things they are supposed to be doing.