Evian L. White, an attorney with Legal Services of Greater Miami, tried to help the residents but couldn't find a legal recourse. "The government agencies tell you you have to live here because basically you're a pariah and can't live anywhere else," she says. "And now you have to go."

Antonio (who asked that his real name not be used) had called this blasted piece of Miami home after serving five years on a federal child porn charge. He claims he was caught looking at pictures of "teens, 16, 17, 18 — not the 7-year-olds. But they don't care. They throw me in the same boat with someone who probably raped a 9-year-old."

Residency restrictions are a joke, Gail Colletta says. They "don't prevent anything. They're about where a sex offender sleeps, where he is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. So what's the difference if my address is across the street from a school or 2,500 feet away from a school? If I am hell-bent on kidnapping a child, do you really think it matters to me where I live?"

After Gail Colletta's son was busted for child porn, she began crusading for more lenient laws.
Monica McGivern
After Gail Colletta's son was busted for child porn, she began crusading for more lenient laws.
Damian Garcia's family might lose their home due to a Lake Worth ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live.
Kyle Swenson
Damian Garcia's family might lose their home due to a Lake Worth ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live.

As often as possible, Colletta makes the 500-mile trek up the Panhandle to the Calhoun Correctional Institute, where her six hours allotted per weekend with Alex are spent at a plastic table in a frigid visiting room.

Back on the other side of the barbed wire, Colletta rolled that heartache into her work, the phone calls to legislators, the sitdowns with sex offenders. "I can't stop," she says. She brushes off nasty comments from the Valigator as needless fearmongering and instead tries to persuade people with research, facts, and compassion.

Since taking over the presidency of the Florida Action Committee, she has made herself a fixture in Tallahassee, hauling carloads of sex offenders to meetings with representatives. She's published op-eds. Colletta has even forked over her own money to create a public service announcement about how a curious click of child porn can land a person in serious legal trouble.

From her home in Boynton Beach, Colletta worked the phones, trying to bring attention to the River Park evictees. She blasted out four news releases, but hardly anyone covered it. "Apparently, the South Florida news community had 'bigger fires' to report on," the last release snarled.

Ninety minutes up I-95 from River Park in Lake Worth, Damian Garcia puffs on an electronic cigarette while his 3-year-old son wobbles about the lawn. He outlines big plans for the backyard — a pergola, a movie projector. As his pretty wife, Angelica, comes out to the porch with dinner, Garcia beams. "I really don't feel like I live the life of a typical sex offender."

But Garcia could be booted in two weeks. When he was 18, Garcia had what he claims was consensual sex with a girl he met at the beach. She said she was 17 but was actually 15. He was charged with lewd or lascivious battery. Eventually, Garcia accepted a withhold of adjudication, a legal option that meant he would not be found guilty of a felony but did include three years of probation. Tagged on was the registry.

"If I was any other criminal, my sentence would be done," Garcia says. "Say you're a prospective employer and you're looking at my background — this doesn't come up at all on a background check. But if you do a Google search of my name, you'll see me on the registry."

It got worse. A 2007 Florida law allowed "Romeos" in statutory rape cases (sometimes called "Romeo and Juliet cases") like Garcia's to petition off the registry. Garcia met all the criteria, except that, to save money, he got his psychosexual evaluation from a therapist other than the one chosen by the court. A judge denied his petition. The law allows Romeos just one shot to get off the list — and his was blown.

Despite his label, Garcia has been able to make a good living working small-time finance jobs. But after filing this new address with the registry, the phone call came from local police: His new home was 1,500 feet from a school bus stop, a violation of Lake Worth's ordinance. Move or face arrest.

"I don't even know where the bus stop is," he says. He couldn't even contest the case until school began for the fall because administrators were unavailable to confirm bus routes.

Stories like these are why some experts like Levenson feel residency restrictions and the sex offender registry fail to prevent sex offenders from committing more crimes. Rather, the tough, one-size-fits-all stance makes life so shitty for low-risk offenders that it raises their chances of acting criminally again. And wasting resources on low-risk offenders stretches the system too thin to closely monitor the highest-risk criminals, they argue.

Last November, Lynn University's Levenson and a team of researchers looked at the recidivism rates of sex offenders. Nationally, they reoffended an average of 5.1 percent after five years and 10.3 percent after ten years. If Florida's tough approach were working, you'd expect those digits to be lower than the average, but actually the state's rates are 5.2 and 13.7 percent, respectively.

The study also found no correlation between residency restrictions and a lower rate of recidivism. The restrictions seem to push more offenders to homelessness.

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162 comments
bama.nutzgaming
bama.nutzgaming

Ok, murderers, drug dealers, meth makers, drug users, duis, home invasions, fraud, gang violence. all these horrible people are treated soooo much better than any sex offender for any reason from the littlest crime up to what they should be put to death for. I do agree with val that the ones that raped children over and over should be put to death for in prison, general population (where someone will put them to do) for life. statutory rape would be the only crime that should not be registered for life nor should it have an outcome for life for the individual. in my state, statutory rape carries a min to max sentence of 1 to 2 years. registry for life is not forced for it. registry for the term of probation is. I know someone here with that charge that now is trying to steer those with a sexual problem to late teens away from this life. He meets with officials to find these individuals and get them into therapy before its too late. He is no longer on the registry as of December 30 2013. Should he die too? Should he be shunned for a mistake he made at the age of 20 with a girl that was 3 years younger? No. some homicides and even murderers go on to do small prison time between 4 and 20 years, do 5 years of parole after release and is longer looked after by the probation or parole or community. How is this ok for you? Drug dealers have taken the lives of millions and millions of kids and adults, but you let them go free before a sex offender. Reoffending people will always be there but not only sex offenders and not a lot of them. Drugs and dui offenders are more likely to reoffend than sex offenders. Oh yea and that guy that I have told you about. its me. I really wish you would try and come up here to my state of Tennessee and tell me where I can and cannot live. I really wish you would pull a weapon out on me in my front yard. I messed up once. Now I am trying to change things here before anyone else makes that same mistake. I really wish you would travel with your little group of advocates and find me and threaten. I wish you would. For these other commenters, let it be, lets see if shes all that she says she is. lets see if she has the balls to come up to my property and start some bs. I am not the typical ex sex offender. I fight for the would be victims now, while going to school to better my life and work on some hobbies like new culinary masterpieces in the bbq section. I help my elderly parents out. I help my father out, a bronze star recipient from the United States of America. I support my marine brother and cherish the niece that was born 5 days ago. I love my country and now im a law abiding citizen. As a matter of fact of reoffending, you reoffend quite a lot. Hypocrite much? aggravated assault in Tennessee is a felony. oh yea and im muslim on top of it but my religious beliefs do not sway my community beliefs. Stop judging people that have already been judged. Stop judging criminals since you yourself are one. You should know better. I bet you try to tell me that your crime was for the good of society but that's not right, no crime is good for society. Learn to live with all people. I wish you would be what you say you are and say something to me.

blastout
blastout

Yeah whateveryousay... How did U learn to be so crazy... ?? I hear Ur getting ready for that big dirt nap... What happened..?



whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

I'm sick and tired of sex offenders saying that they have "served their sentence" or "done their time." If your sentence includes being on the registry, then your sentence isn't complete until you are taking the big dirt nap. Enjoy!  Remember why you are on it.

val03
val03

In as much as I was pleased with the article I doubt more could have been accomplished than reading the comments under the article. They give a very real insight to the mindsets of offenders that most people would not be privy too. Oncefallen aka Derek Logue and Gail Colletta are very close and piggyback off each others statements and opinions. They communicate daily along with other "minutemen" to bombard any articles that profile more stringent laws or actions against sex offenders. Yet they wont bother to "log-in" on an article that shows the pure depths of evil these diviants will engage in. Their single minded goal is to abolish the registry and make sex crimes a mental illness not a criminal felony. These groups umbrella any offender with any crime under their belt to Stand as A United Front to alleviate any repercussions for these crimes.  Valerie Parkhurst

darthjohnny48
darthjohnny48

This "Valerie person" is a gun toting nut and the spokesperson of a closet fascist constituency. She speaks for cowards, who are little better than closet perverts themselves - hiding behind the idea of a "silent majority". She should stand her ground with the alligators, while her followers should be ostracized and forced to live and fester under the bridges of other offenders - their kin.

hlain9152
hlain9152

So apparently you have an obsession with this Valerie person. You're the hate-obsessed freak. Idiot perv.

DrCroland
DrCroland

Thank you for putting a human face on those people whom all of society has turned their back on, sometimes for reasons that would make little sense in most other countries. In the case of Damian Garcia, for instance, had he been 1 year younger at the time, the consensual relationship he had would not have been technically between an "adult" and a "child". But "sexual offenders" have become the target of a modern-day Salem witch hunt, and our society has become so ridiculously paranoid that even an iconic image like the Coppertone girl's tushy can longer be shown. Yet all kinds of illicit images are floating about in cyberspace that could destroy a person's life if they were to click on them, even by accident... I accept the fact that Big Brother is watching and privacy is dead, but can't someone do more to educate people? Btw Valerie Parkhurst is a vicious and dirty lowlife who gets her kicks out of bullying people who have already paid their debt. It's too bad that, back when she used to shoot alligators, one of them didn't take its revenge on her. At least they have a place in the natural food chain and are useless, sadistic parasites.

LawCheck
LawCheck

@whateveryousay  

Then why should murderers receive sentences that are often more mild? You're using the criminal justice system for nefarious purposes and it's starting to burden law abiding, morally upstanding citizens because we can tell the difference between the truly dangerous offenders and the ones who aren't. 

LawCheck
LawCheck

@val03  

I don't think you can lump them all together like that. It's counter-productive. 

val03
val03

. They use false(low) reoffend rates and vigilanti articles to highlight their efforts. What they wont tell you is 97% of vigilanti actions towards sex offenders are committed by family or aquaintances of the family after the offender has targeted a victim within that circle. Sex offenders and their advocates use the "18 year old having consentual sex with their underage girlfriend" as their mantra for reform. In the registries heyday any person looking at any registry would have been hardpressed to find that conviction. It has never been as common as these Pro-offender groups infer it is. The truth is, offenders do not want the Romeos removed due to the nature of "their" convictions and that they wont qualify for removal. Thus the push to abolish the registry all together. Ask any offender what his crime was and he will hide "behind the Romeo scenario" . Offenders Lie, they all LIE. Never take an offenders word for the circumstances of their conviction. Court transcripts are the only reliable source. ..Valerie Parkhurst.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@darthjohnny48 God bless her.  Sexual predators are nothing but human waste.  From the eyes of the victim motive doesn't mean a thing. 

The registry should be far more comprehensive and include current photos, residences and work places if any.  

val03
val03

DarthJohnny is a Dade county sex offender who has some very real issues that his Twitter account screams loud and clear. Seems Mr. McLeod likes the sexual stimulation that "feathers" give him hense the name "Featherdude" and of course Child Porn. He rates the best FREE Wi-fi places that  he can get to on his bicycle (really like Dunkin Donuts)  and enjoys hanging out at the West Dade, Concorde and Kendall Libraries. Complains his meds arent balanced and his boat is always broken. Mom and sister take him to breakfast and dinner at least 5 times a week and touts himself as a maintence man who doesnt seem to work much. Cant seem to stay too far from the States oversight due to a couple of VOP's and couldnt walk the straight and narrow if an arrow was painted on the ground for him.

centaurea
centaurea

@darthjohnny48 Dude, my only regret is that the alligators didn't have her for lunch when she was taking her cowardly pot-shots at them. At least they have a rightful place in the natural world, which is more than can be said for her.

centaurea
centaurea

@hlain9152Pssst...  "hlain9152" and Valerie Prickhurst are one and the same. Pass it on

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

It's not a witch hunt when there are actual victims.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@DrCroland The witches were innocent.  Convicted sex offenders are not.  Some would argue quite successfully that sexual predators are sadistic parasites.

val03
val03

My you boys have been busy..I like Damian Garcia. He is a good guy and should be able to petition off the registry. My opinion is he doesnt pose a threat to anyone. You happy now?

hlain9152
hlain9152

@DrCroland A convicted sex offender calling someone else a sadistic parasite. What a fucking joke!

centaurea
centaurea

@DrCroland I think you actually meant to say that unlike Parkhurst, the alligators are NOT useless, sadistic parasites.   :-)

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@LawCheck  If you make an assumption that makes your point of view weak. Do you assume I support milder sentences for murderers?  I do not.  I think they should be more harsh than that of sex offenders.  I do not support weakening sexual offender sentences, I support making the punishment for murders harsher. I am not using the criminal justice system for nefarious purposes.  The sex offender registries have been found to be constitutional.  I support the registry and am happy it keeps it's boot on the necks of sexual offenders.  Judging the danger level of sexual offenders is subjective and I side with caution.  Sexual offenders deserve the registry and will where it around their necks for all to see. They should feel lucky to be free in society at all.

bama.nutzgaming
bama.nutzgaming

@val03 no they don't, I don't see anyone saying anything about tupac when he went upstate of sexual abuse, tis a sex crime, he was a sex offender. but you say nothing. I did a crime that included someone 3 years younger than me hence statutory rape, mitigated. I am free of all obligation, I have a beautiful job making 2 grand a week, more than non offenders. hell I might make more than or close to what you make. imagine that. a person with a sexual conviction still in school, still trying to make his life better than what it was after the conviction. that person not giving up on what his life had been but instead trying to make his life better than it ever was. I didn't lie about mine, I plead guilty, I been doin what I am supposed to do. I don't look over my shoulder or live in fear. why did you pull a gun out on someone that you started harassing? are you gonna use the he is a sex offender and I am an outstanding citizen scenario?

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@val03 Keep up the great work!  Pedos and predators need to be in the public's eye all of the time.

barefootmama0709
barefootmama0709

@val03 If you're going to be a "vigilanti", learn how to spell it. Christ. And if you haven't learned yet that people's words often get twisted in court cases, you probably never will.

bama.nutzgaming
bama.nutzgaming

@whateveryousay@darthjohnny48 I agree, it should include all of that, but it should include little dick riders like yourself lol, youre pathetic my dude, straight pathetic, I wish you and val would come to dinner soon with my city, please start traveling that would entertain me. you use fear towards the general public to get your voices heard, lol its soooooo cute. I use facts and logic. watch what I can do.

val03
val03

Centaurea is another  angry sex offender who has a real problem with the "truth" kinda like he had in front of the judge that convicted him.

centaurea
centaurea

@val03 No Valerie I am not yet happy... although this surprising statement by you may be a small step in the right direction, it is only words not backed by deeds. Also, you still are lumping all "offenders" together whether they actually have hurt someone or not. It is extremely cruel and unconscionable that you would want a person like Alex Colletta to be locked up for ten years together with real rapists and pedophiles, when all he did was download some pictures that were made by someone else. He needs psychiatric help but not to be locked up with hardened criminals. Incidentally, YOU are a criminal yourself and it is my fervent hope that you soon get a taste of your own medicine.

centaurea
centaurea

@terriers2 @DrCroland You two idiots are sicker than the sex offenders. Why don't you both take good look at that butt-ugly Valerie bitch and turn to stone?

centaurea
centaurea

@hlain9152 @DrCroland Oh there you are again, you clearly are a disgusting hater who enjoys torturing people, even after they have already been punished, just like that Meduda hag herself. Why don't you two get married? You sicken me.

LawCheck
LawCheck

@whateveryousay

"The sex offender registries have been found to be constitutional."

Only if it's not punishment, as the court EXPLICITLY wrote. 

In Smith v. Doe, the majority wrote, "Because the Alaska Sex Offender Registration Act is nonpunitive, its retroactive application does not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause." Pp. 4-18. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=538&invol=84

 

They explicitly said that sex-offender registration was NONPUNITIVE/not considered punishment, and they have never considered the requirements for NON-VIOLENT offenders. If sex-offender registration is to be approached from the perspective of punishment, the perspective you suggest it is the correct one, then the court may very well strike it down.It has never faced an 8th Amendment challenge as far as I know, when the case has concerned a non-violent offender, or any offender. Most of the challenges have concerned ex post facto or due process challenges. 

Furthermore, three judges on the court, Stevens, Breyer, and Ginsburg, known for being the most honest, all dissented so the ruling doesn't have a lot of credibility. 

There needs to be a middle ground. I think Donatello's David(the bronze one) is offensively pornographic, but nobody else seems to agree. Still, I wouldn't throw somebody on the sex-offender registry for showing it. Anybody who is truly dangerous enough to be subject to these types of registration restrictions is too dangerous to let out of prison. 

Society is experiencing tremendous social and economic damage as a result of these vague and selective sex-offender restrictions. Roughly 10-20% of the population over 40 has gone streaking at some point, which is a sex crime. Are you seriously telling me that 10% of the population should be subject to a life-sentence of de facto imprisonment via sex-offender registration? About 25-30% of the population has had sex with someone under the age of 16 while being between the ages of 16-19, which is a sex-crime in most states. Are you telling me that 25% of our population should receive life sentences via sex-offender registration?

Should Thomas Jefferson still be on our money and honored with a memorial even though he had a sexual relationship with a 16 year old girl, while he was in his fifties? 

The difference between you and me is simple: you seek to maximize safety generally even if it comes at the expense of others' liberty, and I seek to maximize liberty for everybody, even if it results in slight loss of safety. The only purpose the sex-offender registry should serve is to protect the public from violent offenders with a VERY HIGH likelihood of re-offending and committing a VIOLENT crime. This rehabilitation-focused penal system is the only way to reduce poverty, generate jobs, and protect children. If you look at how Josh Graven was abused as a child by proxy because of these laws, it's clear that they're failing to protect children.

bama.nutzgaming
bama.nutzgaming

@whateveryousay@val03 while we are at it, since this country is supposed to be built on the phrase all men are created equally, equal opportunity. lets put in the eye, all released convicted murderers, drug dealers, drug users, thieves, alcoholics, no more aa, frauds, extortionists, vandalists, dirty cops, slanderers, since slandering is a crime, bullies, since bullying is a crime. you cannot put in the public eye of the united one group and leave the rest out then that would become a hate crime. lets put the racists out there also, all of them. you sir, are pathetic and you will meet your make far before I will.

bama.nutzgaming
bama.nutzgaming

@darthjohnny48@val03 well it looks like a case of slander against her, doesn't it. shes an aggravated assaultist that still owns weapons. I agree with your statements, and I promise you I will piss tthose two off to the point that they will search for me, hopefully shes a wee bit better than idle threats on the internet.

bama.nutzgaming
bama.nutzgaming

@val03 its hilarious, it really is. the ones that don't agree with you, you slander them saying they are sex offenders. has it occurred to you that maybe youre just a nut job that has no sense of common sense. MAYBE, just maybe, youre a sex offender in hiding, pretending to hate other predators so no one will look into your hard drive? maybe you don't want them to know you secretly like little girls, since your preference is lesbian. maybe you just want to get rid of the other competition to keep the kids to yourself? do you see what speculation gives someone? it gives them power?

centaurea
centaurea

@val03 I am not a sex offender you stupid bitch and never was one. I am just an ordinary citizen who is extremely concerned about the effect that crazed, maniacal vigilantes like you are having on what was once a democracy where people are innocent until proven guilty and if found guilty, are supposed to be free from further torment by freaks like you after they have served their punishment.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

If he's viewing child porn he is a hardened criminal

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@centaurea Even if someone just watches child porn they are guilty.  Some poor kid was abused to make that for the entertainment of the predator.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@centaurea They haven't served out their debt of their debt includes being on the sex-offendor registry.  Remember, a healthy alternative to the sex-offendor registry is an automatic 25 years to life sentence.  The registry is a gift rapists, pedophiles and child porn pushers.

centaurea
centaurea

@hlain9152 @centaurea @DrCroland Valerie... you're an even bigger loser than the people you harass and torture. You have a hate-infested mentality and have forgotten that they are human beings who have already served out their debt, but that's not enough for you... what do you want now, their blood? This is what I meant btw when I said the word parasite.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

I'll take... what a registered sex offender might say for a $1000...

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

So, is a family member on the registry?

centaurea
centaurea

@whateveryousay @centaurea Listen buddy, I will repeat myself in case you were too dense to hear me before. When society starts locking people up just for downloading something onto their computer, we move dangerously close to becoming an Orwellian society (if we are not one already). What if someone downloads such a picture by accident? And even if it was deliberate, he did not actually harm anyone and may just need some psychiatric help. Incarceration does not provide him with any such help.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

So you admit sex offenders are losers?

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@centaurea @whateveryousay I'm going to go out on limb here and guess that you, or maybe your family member, has to register because of a sexual crime.  Saying that nobody harmed anybody by just watching it is akin to saying I didn't make the crack I just have it.  

I'm sorry that you can't fathom the reality that consuming child pornography directly contributes to the abuse of the child.  
Incarceration is the best way to protect society from pedophiles.  Psychiatric help for them is far from the immediate priority in dealing with a sex offender.

Saying, "he did not actually harm anyone" by consuming child porn is terrible logic and points to rationalizing a terrible act.  Did your precious little Johnny do something naughty?  Did you do something bad and get caught?  

No harm? Tell that to the poor kid in the video or picture.


whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@centaurea And I hope you never rape or molest anyone or any living creature.

If you rape or molest you should be locked up for 25 to life.  Raping and molesting is sadistic.  Punishing those who rape and molest is justice. 

centaurea
centaurea

@whateveryousay Yes, yes, of course they are losers. But, why won't our society try to HELP them, instead of making them into pariahs who will never be allowed to live like human beings and thus be forced to behave like animals?

 
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