Crime I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Flaws In Florida's Sex Offender Program

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

By Mike Vasilinda
August 27, 2013

A report on sex offenders in Florida shows that 499 convicted offenders committed more than 2700 new crimes, some repeat sex offenses in the ten years following their release from prison. Top lawmakers are now calling for the law to be fixed to keep them from hurting new victims.

Cherish Perrywinkel, abducted and murdered by a known sex offender, could have been alive today if a law named for another dead child had worked the way it’s intended. The Jimmy Ryce act allows the state to keep offenders locked up, even after their sentence is over. Donald Smith, the man accused in Cherish’s death, was confined for three years, but let go when prosecutors didn’t pursue the case. “We look at several thousand files every single year,” says Don Montaldi, Administrator, Sexually Violent Predator Program.

Fewer than 700 predators remain locked up under the law. Yet the state database lists more than ten thousand sexual predators.

Keeping someone locked up after their sentence has expired as a complicated process, there are at least three hearings with psychiatrist and psychologist and then a judge has to weigh in.

Even then there’s still no guarantee a predator won’t be released. “They’ll spend several years in treatment, and then the court reviews their case on a yearly bases,” says Don Montaldi, Administrator, Sexually Violent Predator Program.

A new study found 500 sex offenders released from prison committed more than 2700 new crimes within ten years.

Robert Talbot was convicted on 8 counts of molesting kids, some under the age of 12. “I did monstrous things, therefore I am a monster. I shouldn’t be around children. If I was ever to be released around children, I shouldn’t be,” said Robert Talbot (Courtesy Loren’s Kids), Convicted Molester.

A study on why the law isn’t doing better is due in September.


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