North Port parents worried about bus stop in front of sex offender’s home

Sarasota County

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) – A neighborhood is up in arms after a registered sex offender recently moved in, and his home is right in front of a bus stop.

As 8 On Your Side has learned, this could happen in a neighborhood near you.

Earlier this year, a new resident moved into a home down the street and it has parents outraged.

“How was he allowed to move into that house when there was a bus stop out front?” said concerned parent Christopher Gabel.

FDLE says in 2006, the new resident was sentenced to prison in Kentucky for rape and sexual abuse. The female victim was a minor.

“I know he sits on his front porch a lot because I ride my bicycle by, but I would want to know, it does concern me, because there’s a lot of kids at that bus stop,” said neighbor Kathie Lockhart.

“I know he did his time and hopefully he was rehabilitated but his actions to me don’t show it. Why does he have to be outside when the kids are getting on and off the bus,” said Gabel.

Under Florida law, sex offenders are not allowed to live within 1000 feet of a school, child care facility or park.

Law enforcement officials tell us, unless there are special conditions, there are no restrictions for school bus stops, so he’s not doing anything wrong.

When we visited the house, a woman inside did not wish to comment.

We looked at the FDLE sex offender database and learned the man is not alone, just within a one mile radius, there were other registered offenders nearby.

Just a few hours after 8 On Your Side started digging into the story, Sarasota County Schools announced the bus stop will be moved a couple blocks away from the sex offender’s home.

Parents will be notified and students can expect the change for the first day of school.

“We want the new school year to be filled with excitement and happiness,” noted Todd Bowden, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. “Although we want to be respectful and observe the rights of all citizens in our community, we also have an obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of our students at all times. In this case, it became very apparent we needed to make a change in time for the new school year to ensure our students arrive to and come home from their bus stop safely every day. I want to thank our parents for addressing this with the school district and for their partnership in the safety of our students.”

You can look up the locations of sexual offenders near you, just click on this link.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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