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Sexual Predators On The Move

7:09 PM, Apr 5, 2006   |    comments
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By Jessica Clark First Coast News CLAY COUNTY, FL -- Thumb tacks are scattered across maps on Officer Melissa Dangerfield's office walls. Each one represents where a sexual predator or sexual offender lives in Clay County. Dangerfield monitors where sexual offenders and predators live in the county for the Clay County Sheriff's Office. She expects to see more sexual predators cross the Duval County line into surrounding counties in the year to come. Dangerfield says it's because of an ordinance Duval County passed and put into effect last May. The new law says a sexual predator cannot live within 2500 feet of any school, public library, daycare center, park, playground, or other place where children gather. The Clay County officer says, "The part that says 'the other place where children gather' is very vague. That could be a convenience store after school. That could be a boat ramp, gee, it could be a church." Dangerfield believes the vagueness in the Duval County ordinance makes it harder for sexual predators to live in Jacksonville, so they'll move out. "So I'm imagining Clay, Nassau, St. Johns and all the surrounding counties are getting a higher number [of sexual predators] moving in," Dangerfield says. The ordinance only pertains to sexual predators, not sexual offenders. Dangerfield says the easiest way to determine between the two is that sexual predators have committed crimes on children younger than 12 years of age or they've been convicted more than once.

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