Experts recap Florida rules for sex offenders

No regulations for offenders on computer, social media

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In light of the Cherish Perrywinkle 's death, Channel 4 has been digging deeper into what rules and regulations are in place when it comes to monitoring sex offenders. 

Sheriff John Rutherford and Channel 4's Crime and Safety Expert, Ken Jefferson, explained how police cannot watch every sex offender, but that they do their best in enforcing the laws that exist to protect the public and our children from sex offenders.

"The Sheriff's office here will monitor these individuals at their residences to make sure they have not moved," said Ken Jefferson.

According to Florida law, a sex offender must register with the Sheriff's office within 48 hours of his or her release from custody.

Depending on their offense, they must update that registration two to four times a year. If they fail to do that, it's considered a felony and a warrant is issued for their arrest. 

The public registry website is updated in real time, with the offender's status and location.

"The problem is these guys travel," said Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford. "You can't rest on those things, and I tell people when I talk to them about offender watch. This is just information to arm you, you're the parent, you have to know who they're with and what they're doing."

Once offenders are released from jail, Jefferson said, officers perform random checks on them once a month. 

"This person, outside of being monitored, has the flexibility to do whatever they want to do, and that's not fault of the police or the actual monitoring procedures. That's just the way it is," said Jefferson. 

Florida state statutes also require sex offenders to keep their distance from any school, park or place where children congregate. 

"According to city ordinance, a sex offender has to be 2,500 feet away from a school," said Jefferson.  

One area that remains a legal sticking point with sex offenders is on the computer, and their use of social media. There is no law that prohibits an offender from having a computer, using the internet, having an email account or a social media account.  

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