By Isabel Mascarenas
Wauchula - At stake in a Hardee County courtroom are the rights of a juvenile sexual offender and the rights of his young victims, now 10 and 12 years old.
"It's simply impossible to establish protocol that limits a chance encounter with the victim and the victim's family in this county," says Judge Marcus Ezelle.
The _____ and _____ families used to be neighbors. They lived across the street from each other in Wauchula. _____ says her two youngest boys used to play with _____'s younger brother. She says she learned of the sexual abuse on Mother's Day 2007.
"It went on for six to eight months, 15 times give or take," says _____.
_____ appears in the FDLE website as a sexual offender dating back to 2007.
Earlier this year, _____ spotted 17-year-old _____ at her son's basketball game and called police. By court order, _____ is not allowed direct or indirect contact with his victims or their siblings. But with one high school in the county, the state attorney's office wants clarification by what the court means by indirect contact.
Even though _____ is home schooled, state law allows the teen to play on Hardee High School's football team. State law keeps juvenile sexual offenders from being assigned to attend the same school and ride the same school bus, but the law does not include extracurricular activities. As part of _____'s probation, he is supervised 24 hours a day.
"I don't know how he will be supervised on the football team, on the field, the bus, the showers, anywhere," says _____.
_____ says she's fighting to keep _____ and other juvenile sexual offenders out of schools all together. _____ adds, "He's subject to recommit. I don't want another child to become a victim that's what this is about."
The judge says while he decides on the specifics of what "indirect content" means, he's asked both families to be practical and try to avoid each other.
Meanwhile, _____ is not allowed to attend any basketball game where the victims are playing.