Saturday, October 29, 2011

Watching out for sex offenders on Halloween



When it comes to registered sex offenders, not all are the same. Parents may be realizing this fact this Halloween.

There’s no denying the popularity of the FDLE’s Sexual Offenders and Predators website. You plug in your address and up pops the sex offenders living near you. But dig a little deeper and you’ll notice some are listed as “supervised.”

What does this mean?

Patrice Bryant with the Department of Corrections explains: “"When you say sex offender, it's a catch-all. But you have different classes of sex offender. You have offenders who have restrictions if a victim was a minor. And then you have sex offenders whose victim was an adult and depending on when they were sentenced and what laws were in place."

So why should you care?

“Supervised” sexual offenders have to abide by certain rules during Halloween. Basically, they can’t participate in anything, be it decorate their house, hand out candy, go to the various “trunk-or-treat” or Halloween carnivals. Those who are not supervised can do all of that.

To give you an example of just how many people we’re talking about, in Volusia County there are more than 800 registered sexual offenders and sexual predators. Of those, just 242 are supervised by the DOC’s Probation and Parole office. Patrice Bryant does say those who have committed the most heinous sex crimes are those who are supervised. But she says if parents are concerned this Halloween, log on to the FDLE’s site and see which houses you may or may not want to avoid.

Bryant said: “we monitor all of them. We go out and make contact on Halloween and throughout the weekend. Some of them take things so far as to not answer the door when we knock, so we have to call them and tell them to open up.”;jsessionid=7IWM3Nnn48v-...