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Florida Loses Children, Now they've Lost the Sexual Offenders

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posted on Mar, 29 2005 @ 07:58 AM
After the Rilya Wilson story, Florida officials admitted that the system designed to protect children lost thousands of children over the years. Lost meaning that the Department of Children and Families Services no longer knew the whereabouts of children placed in homes thru the system's foster care program.
Now while you may think that is pretty bad, there's more grim news from Florida. The state is now unable to account for almost 1800 sexual offenders out of the almost 30,000 sexual offenders and predators that live in the state.
1,800 sex offenders missing

One month before a registered sexual offender allegedly kidnapped, raped and murdered 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, Florida law enforcement agencies had lost track of at least 1,800 other sexual offenders statewide, according to a review of Florida's Sexual Offender/Predator Registry.

John Evander Couey, the man who would confess to killing Jessica, was not even listed as one of them because no one knew he wasn't living at his reported address and was staying near the Lunsfords.

The fact that Couey wasn't marked as missing raises questions not only about how aggressively the state tracks offenders known to be on the lam, but how many others have absconded and aren't noticed at all.

Couey was supposed to be living more than five miles from the Lunsford residence in Homosassa. Officials at the Citrus County Sheriff's Office said they discovered he was staying less than a block from the Lunsford's in his half-sister's mobile home -- only after they began interviewing sex offenders as part of their investigation into Jessica's disappearance.

Police found Jessica's body buried nearby after a three-week search.

''We can't do anything about Jessie's death now, but in the future we have to figure out a better way of knowing where these guys are,'' said Archie Lunsford, Jessica's grandfather.

The Herald obtained a copy of the sexual offender database in January and found 800 of those who were missing had committed lewd or lascivious acts against children while another 130 had been sentenced for sexual battery against minors under 16. Nearly all the remaining 870 committed sexual crimes against adults or teenagers over the age of 16.

Among those who fled: George Gonel, 46, a Broward County man who in 1991 was convicted of lewd and lascivious acts and sexual battery against a child. Also missing: Frederick Campbell, 45, of Miami-Dade County, who was sentenced in 1996 to 10 years supervision after attempting to sexually batter a minor. He absconded two years later and has yet to be found.

Mary Coffee, the supervisor of FDLE's Sexual Offender/Predator Unit, which maintains the registry, said the database is supposed to be a tool to alert residents of potentially dangerous people living in their neighborhoods and to assist law enforcement agencies with criminal investigations.

''It is absolutely a partnership between the state, the community and local law enforcement agencies,'' Coffee said. ``The registry is not something that is going to eliminate all sex offenses.''

But breakdowns in the system conjure up memories of other heinous crimes committed by sexual offenders who were supposed to be closely monitored

Florida really has some serious issues, while Jeb Bush is doing a fair job as governor, he needs to do more when it comes to addressing issues pertaining to our children, the future of Florida. Our education system, our health and families services system and our law enforcement system all need some major scrutiny and changes.

[edit on 3-29-2005 by worldwatcher]

posted on Mar, 29 2005 @ 09:29 AM
Lets face it....DCF (which isn't even called that anymore, despite the news stories calling them that), is broken, and has been for a LONG time.... It CANNOT be rebuilt and just renamed (the ongoing "solution"). It needs to be abolished and a completely new agency (with new people) created. A SERIOUS evaluation should be made of all current personnel, keeping only those who measure up. You'd be amazed how many people are in that field, yet seem to have no desire, ability, or the demeanor to do so. Trash the whole frickin' agency. It's also got FAR too much power (just check the recent Schiavo case for this one...if the husband hadn't gotten a court order in time, this agency could have circumvented the law BIG TIME in siezing her and deciding for her what was best, despite her wishes as legally determined, going all the way to the Supreme Court.) No state agency should have that kind of power, to take away someone's spouse, child, or other relative, without a FULL court case IMMEDIATELY to determine what's going on. Instead, they can sieze individuals and keep them separated for YEARS based on simple accusations, WITHOUT EVEN CONVICTING anyone!!!

Tear the damned gestapo agency down....

posted on Mar, 29 2005 @ 11:01 AM
But the governor of florida has time to devot to overriding a single person's legal decisions, right? And they have time to accuse an innocent man of murder to further their own politicised agenda, right? And he also has time to send child welfare services agents to remove schiavo from the hospital, right?

But those missing kids, sex offenders, and kids in foster home's just aren't important, becuase there's no religious context and not enough media attention, right?

posted on Mar, 29 2005 @ 01:29 PM
It's certainly crazy in this state. People living here either have all their priorities in the wrong order or we're just all screwed up, either way there's no easy solution to Florida's problem.

I agree the DCF should be dismantled, but it has to be replaced with a new system with lots of checks and balances and sadly after seeing how backwards we are in this state and even the country, I don't see it happening, I actually fear that dismantling DCF could cause more issues than it solves. So what do we do? I really don't know. But this issue isn't just a DCF issue, like i said above, several of our systems need major work.

posted on Mar, 29 2005 @ 01:44 PM
There are two problems in Florida, DCF certainly being a major one that should be dismantled and restructured as Gazrok said. The second problem lies in the Florida penal system, which is a prison system with so many problems. People that should not be incarcerated are, and ones that should have the key thrown away are the ones getting early releases and minimal convictions. This is why Jessica was killed- a failure of the prison and parole system.

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