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Loophole allows sex predator to live across from school

Deputies: Man convicted in 1995 has since vacated home near schools

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CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – After hearing from concerned parents in the Orange Park area, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office posted on social media Friday about its knowledge of a registered sexual predator across from Lakeside Junior High School.

Authorities said 57-year-old Bruce Granai Jr., a registered sexual predator, lived on Brookwood Road, which is directly across from Lakeside Junior High School on Moody Avenue. Lakeside Elementary School and St. Johns Country Day School are also nearby.

"We were recently contacted by multiple parents concerned about (him)," said Deputy Chris Padgett, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.

After this story aired on Channel 4 on Friday, the Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that it confirmed that Granai had vacated the home and he had updated his driver’s license to a new address. The Sheriff's Office said it was awaiting his registration with the agency, which is 48 hours from the time of relocation.

When school let out and students were let out onto the streets Friday afternoon, some were greeted by parents and others by crossing guards. The conversation among many was the news of the sexual predator who resided nearby at the time. 

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Sexual Offenders and Predators Search website, Granai was convicted in January 1995 of lewd and lascivious acts on a child younger than the age of 16 and sexual battery of a child younger than the age of 12. In 2005, he was convicted of failing to register as a sexual predator.

But according to Florida law, there are no residency restrictions for those convicted of a sexual crime before October 2004. The Sheriff's Office told News4Jax it cannot enforce a law that does not exist. 

"So because of Florida Statute 775.215, I believe 2C, he is allowed to live basically anywhere he chooses due to the fact that the residency restrictions, which most people know as the 1,000-foot rule of residing around schools, day cares and so forth, because his conviction was before October 2004," Padgett said. "The residency restrictions do not apply to him."

Nevertheless, parents said Friday they were worried.

"I have four daughters from (ages) 4 to 18. I am really concerned and I live right next door," parent John Clay said. "My kids play in the backyard."

"(I) don't want to let it control me, but it's concerning, kind of scary," parent Vernisa Moss said. "Hopefully, they look at the laws again."

Nearby residents also said Friday they were disturbed.

"He sits out on the front porch," resident George Schade said. "Our kids go up and down the street. It ain’t right. Period."

The homeowner of the house where Granai lives told News4Jax on Friday that Granai is a friend whom the homeowner has known since the 1990s. The homeowner wanted to help Granai out by giving him a place to live, but said if it was causing community concern, he could live somewhere else.

"We ask that all residents continue to be vigilant and aware of your children’s surroundings," reads part of a post on the Sheriff's Office's Facebook page. "Always call us concerning suspicious activity, in any situation, as we are here to help."

Click here to check if there's sexual predators or offenders living in your area. 


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