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Parents get list of sex offenders

It started Oct. 22, when Citrus County sheriff's deputies blanketed Deerwood Acres with fliers on child molester Peter Leonard. A new state law required law officers to warn neighbors when Leonard, a sexual predator, moved there in August.

Apparently, that was not enough warning for some parents, especially with trick-or-treaters preparing for Halloween tonight.

At their urging, the Sheriff's Office has compiled a list of the 59 sex offenders living in Citrus County. The list is free and available at the Sheriff's Operations Center in Inverness.

"We've had more than a half-dozen calls here at the Sheriff's Office from concerned citizens," sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney said. "We're guessing concerned parents are preparing for trick-or-treating."

The Sheriff's Office said lists were being handed out to parents all day Thursday.

The information already is available through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's web page, which tracks sex offenders. The Sheriff's Office compiled its own listing from the web page. However, none of the information, such as names and addresses, has been confirmed by the Sheriff's Office.

Leonard is the county's only registered sexual predator. The other 58 on the list are classified as sexual offenders. Sexual offenders have committed less serious crimes than sexual predators.

Deputies will not be covering neighborhoods with fliers, as they did when Leonard returned to Inverness. Instead, they will provide the list to those who request it.