28% Increase In Registered Florida Sex Offenders
LABELLE, FL. -- Since 2005, the number of registered sex offenders residing in Florida communities has increased by 28%, while the number of absconded offenders has continued to decline, according to a study by OPPAGA.
In Hendry county there are 30 offenders registered, all male, mostly in Clewiston including two transients, one who has absconded and one in jail. In Glades county, there are 22 including one female, one transient, and one in jail.
In Hendry county, 31-year old Reynaldo Lopez (photo left) was convicted in 2008 for lewd and lascivious battery on an underage youth and is now missing.
But, almost 25% of sex offenders are unable to obtain identification cards because they lack the needed documentation or money. State and local agencies have developed a stopgap measure, providing sex offenders with a letter that acknowledges that they attempted to obtain identification.
Monitoring homeless sex offenders is problematic as it is time-consuming to verify their location and provide required public notice. In addition, some offenders may claim a transient address to avoid legal requirements and restrictions.
Florida is 1 of 15 states substantially compliant with federal requirements, county sheriffs’ offices report compliance with statutorily required registration and public notification activities.
Local practices vary and some sheriffs could better coordinate with the Department of Corrections so as to not duplicate address verification efforts, says the study.
Approximately 1,100 registered sex offenders were minors at the time of their offense. While many youthful offenders are subject to registration requirements, Florida law provides some exemptions for “Romeo and Juliet” cases and some other juvenile offenders.
Florida provides citizens official websites for locating offenders as well as a means to be notified by email when an offender changes addresses.