Thursday, January 10, 2013

FL - ARK volunteer taken off sex-offender list

Original Article


By Jen Horton

[name withheld] — who came to the public’s attention because of his wife’s role at the Animal Rescue Konsortium (ARK) in DeLand — has been removed from the Florida Sexual Offender/Predator Public Registry.

Critics of the ARK shelter, which was raided by the DeLand Police Department Nov. 8, complained that one of the shelter volunteers — [name withheld] — was a registered sex offender.

Just two weeks before the raid, on Oct. 26, [name withheld] had been arrested by DeLand police and charged with failure to register properly as a sex offender. He had listed himself on police records as a transient, but had stayed at least occasionally at ARK.

[name withheld] and his wife were homeless, and ARK president Maggi Hall had given them permission to live at the ARK shelter in exchange for caring for the 126 animals on the property.

After the raid, the [name withheld]'  situation was dire, as they had few possessions and no home, and had difficulty finding work. Daniel [name withheld]’s status as a registered sex offender made hard times even harder.

However, then [name withheld] learned the dates of his conviction on sex charges predated the enactment of the Florida registry.

[name withheld] was convicted of sexual assault in Michigan in 1996 when he was 22 years old. He said the charges had been brought by a former girlfriend.

Florida’s Public Safety Information Act, which requires sex offenders to be registered and their addresses published on a state website, did not go into effect until 1997.
- So anybody whose crime was before 1997 needs to hire a lawyer to get off the registry.

[name withheld] consulted with an attorney, who helped him have his name removed from the sex-offender registry. He’s happy to lose the label.

I can live anywhere I want to,” [name withheld] said.

Most jurisdictions restrict where registered sex offenders can live. The ARK shelter is among locations in DeLand that are off-limits as a sex offender’s residence.

[name withheld] said he now has a good job, and he and his wife have a car and a new place to live in Orange City.
- This just goes to show you, the registry is punishment.  It made this man and his wife homeless, and when he was removed from the registry, he now is able to get on with his life.

Things are going good for us,” he said. “I’m happy.”

Depending on exactly where they live, the [name withheld]’ trouble with [name withheld]'s past conviction may not be over.

In 2012, Orange City adopted a residency-restriction ordinance that applies to all sex offenders, whether or not they are listed on the state registry, and whether they were convicted in Florida or another state.
- And it's another unconstitutional ex post facto law that should be repealed!

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