Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey looks at tightening sex offender ordinance

NEW PORT RICHEY — The City Council is seeking a legal review of its sex offender ordinance to give it more teeth.

New Port Richey's ordinance already bans registered sex offenders convicted in Florida of a sex crime on a child under 16 from living within 2,500 feet of a school, day care center, library, church, park or playground.

But after hearing from resident Tom Harris, the council decided on Tuesday to possibly follow the lead of the tiny East Pasco city of San Antonio, which in January beefed up its ordinance by increasing its required buffer by 500 feet, as well as adding bus stops to the mix.

"San Antonio did it,'' Harris told the council, "why can't we?"

Interim Deputy City Attorney Susan Churuti offered to review the city's ordinance and come back with any recommendations for possible changes.

"It never hurts to take another look," she said.

Harris decried state laws that mandate a 1,000-foot buffer for registered sex offenders who are no longer being supervised by the state on probation or parole, but were convicted under Florida law of a sex crime on a child under 16.

Harris said another loophole needs to be addressed as sex offenders who come to Florida from outside the state are required to register, but since their convictions occurred in another state, there are no restrictions on where they live.

New Port Richey's ordinance has similar language to the state law in outlining its 2,500-foot buffer requirement for sex offenders living in the city who have been convicted of sex crimes under Florida law, but the wording also allows for offenders convicted outside the state to live anywhere in the city.

For Harris, who has three daughters, 13, 10 and 8, it is a huge concern. Currently, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lists 167 sex offenders with New Port Richey addresses. FDLE officials confirmed that sex offenders who come to Florida with convictions from other states are not subject to state restrictions on where sex offenders can live.

Cities and counties can address the issue locally, said Mary Coffee, FDLE planning and policy administrator of Florida Offender Registry and Tracking Services.

"I can't believe more people aren't outraged by this," Harris said. "It's like New Port Richey has put out the welcome mat for sex offenders."

New Port Richey police Chief Jeffrey Harrington said he hasn't seen an increase in sex offenders living in the area, but he is in favor of the upcoming review by legal advisers of the ordinance.

New Port Richey looks at tightening sex offender ordinance 03/16/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 8:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Snell to rejoin rotation Wednesday

    Blogs

     

  2. Illegal sign patrol on a mission to clean up Hillsborough streets

    Human Interest

    BRANDON --Jim Reed, rifling through the back of his Nissan Pathfinder, picks out a sign.

     Citizen volunteers, Reed and Bill Staley take down illegal roadside signs for county code enforcement.  CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  3. Video: Crowd catches teen falling from Six Flags ride

    Nation

    QUEENSBURY, N.Y. — A teenager fell about 25 feet (about 8 meters) from a stopped gondola ride at an upstate New York amusement park Saturday night, tumbling into a crowd of park guests and employees gathered below to catch her before she hit the ground.

    A teenager fell from a stopped gondola ride at Six Flags in upstate New York. [FACEBOOK VIA LOREN LENT]
  4. Trump accuses Clinton of colluding with Democrats to defeat 'Crazy Bernie Sanders'

    National

    In the wake of a bombshell story about Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election - and persistent allegations that President Donald Trump's campaign may have colluded with Russia to win - Trump took to Twitter Sunday morning to accuse someone else of collusion: his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

    President Donald Trump speaks during the "American Leadership in Emerging Technology" event in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Washington. [AP Photo/Evan Vucci]
  5. Vending machines to give 100,000 free books to Florida kids

    Education

    FORT LAUDERDALE — Children in South Florida will soon be able to get free books from vending machines.