New Rules for Accused Sex Offenders

By Julie Montanaro
August 16, 6:45pm

Accused sex offenders awaiting trial in Leon County could find themselves back in jail during the next hurricane. Leon County has adopted some new rules to try to make sure those wearing GPS monitors don't slip away when the lights go out.

He agreed to talk if we didn't reveal his face or name. We'll call him “Julian.” He's awaiting trial for having sex with a 17-year-old and doesn't think new rules which could send him to jail to wait out the next hurricane are fair.

"I'm not convicted of anything, so I shouldn't be even thought about being put back into jail, basically saying I'm guilty."

Leon County wrote new rules for this hurricane season after accused pedophile Richard Rightmire fled to Canada last year amidst the power outages and confusion of Hurricane Dennis.

"Do you call these the Rightmire rules?"

"Not specifically the Rightmire rules," answered Wanda Hunter with the Leon County Pre-Trial Release Program. "We call them high risk or risk of flight or risk to public safety during an emergency."

The new rules target accused sex offenders and violent ones who are out on bond and wearing GPS monitors until trial.

In the face of a hurricane, a judge can issue emergency orders to have them taken to jail and then released again when the state of emergency has passed. Those with a spotty record of missed appointments or curfews are most likely to hear the law come knocking.

"People who are generally borderline on compliance, they get a little over the edge when it comes to following the rules," Hunter said.

Right now there are 71 people in the county's high risk category, and Wanda Hunter estimates about five to 10 percent of them would be temporarily jailed under the new rules.