Sex offender seen at yoga class, UNF

UNF police say 42-year-old is wanted on charge of lewd act at yoga studio

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 42-year-old registered sex offender spotted twice on Sunday in Jacksonville is wanted in connection with performing an unnatural and lascivious act at a San Marco yoga facility.

Jacksonville police said that at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Joseph Jordan attended a yoga class in the Hendricks Avenue area and began masturbating during the class until he was confronted by the instructor and three male students.

Jordan was escorted out, police said. They said it was the first time he's attended the yoga facility.

Police were able to identify it as Jordan because he used his real name when he signed up for the class.

"He filled out the form with a lot of his specific information," said Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda. "Maybe couldn't control himself once he was in there. ... He wasn't trying to hide, which causes us more concern."

On Monday, the campus police at the University of North Florida sent out a warning about Jordan, who police said was found Sunday evening acting suspiciously outside the women's bathroom at the Student Union, Building 58W.

A UNF spokeswoman said UNF police talked with Jordan, he answered all their questions and even waited around while JSO and the State Attorney's Office responded, but since he didn't commit any crime on campus, he was let go.

"I can tell you when we had him on our campus, he told our police officers that he was going to be leaving town, the state," said UNF spokeswoman Sharon Ashton. "We really thought that was the last we'd see of him, but at that point we didn't know about the incident at the yoga studio earlier that day."

Ashton said the university has 17 different ways to communicate and emergency to students, faculty and staff, and officials base their method of delivery on the severity of the case. In the case of Jordan, an email was sent.

"He didn't commit a crime on our campus, so we couldn't do anything about it," Ashton said. "But we felt the need to notify the campus community, as we typically do, to say, 'Be aware. Be on the lookout for. If you feel uncomfortable, you can always call for an escort.'"

On Monday, police connected Jordan to the yoga incident and obtained an arrest warrant. They then posted Jordan's mugshot and information online on the JSO Facebook page.

News4Jax crime and safety expert Gil Smith said Facebook and Twitter are proven tools in apprehending criminals.

"Not just with JSO, but throughout law enforcement, some have noticed a 50 percent increase in actually catching these suspects who are wanted by police, because people are watching these sites," Smith said.

As for Jordan's history, JSO said he was released from jail on Sept. 3 and was on probation for lewd and lascivious acts on a minor. The Florida sexual offender website shows Jordan registered his address as a home in Dayton, Ohio, the same day he was released.

Under Florida law, convicted sexual offenders are allowed on college campuses. The UNF alert reminded people on campus to lock their doors, don't walk alone and to report any suspicious activity on one of the campus emergency phones.

Jordan was described as a black man, 6 feet 3 inches tall and 180 pounds. Police said Jordan should be considered dangerous.

"We're very concerned. We want to let the community to know that this has occurred, we want them to see his picture, we want them to know what he looks like," Bujeda said. "If anyone knows his whereabouts, we want them to call police right away."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500, Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS, or the UNF Police Department at 904-620-2800.

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