Thursday, May 2, 2013

FL - Orlando wants to distance sex offenders even farther from schools

Original Article


ORLANDO - Channel 9 has learned Orlando City Council plans to vote on an ordinance that will toughen sex offender residency restrictions with an ordinance that is tougher than the state's current law.

Florida law says some sex offenders can't live within 1,000 feet of schools, but the city of Orlando wants to extend that even further to 1,500 feet.

"When I got out of prison, I came right straight here to Orlando," said convicted sexual predator [name withheld].

In November, [name withheld] told Channel 9 he moved to Orlando because the city didn't have tough restrictions.

Sybil Riddle lives in the Rock Lake community close to an elementary school. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement website shows her home is surrounded by sex offenders.

Right now, sex offenders in Orlando can live within 1,000-feet of schools, parks, playgrounds and day cares. But if the City Council ordinance passes, sex offender regulations will be pushed back an additional 500 feet.

A spokesperson for the city said there are currently 475 sex offenders living within city limits. If the ordinance passes, the residency restriction will only apply to people whose victims are under 16 and sex offenders will not have to move away from their present homes.

"Existing sex offenders, under our current state statute and under our proposed ordinance, are grandfathered," said Orlando Assistant City Attorney Kyle Shephard. "In other words, they can't be forced to move under state law, but they can't move and come back."

But that's not good enough for Riddle.

"We just need to move them out or move them further away, for the school children at least," she said.

The issue will be discussed and voted for at City Hall on Monday. If it passes, the ordinance could take effect as early as July 1.

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