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Convicted sex offender beaten by neighbors

4-12-2000 Florida:

.NORTH FORT MYERS -- A convicted sexual molester is nursing minor injuries after being beaten by a couple of neighbors who feared he would molest neighborhood kids. Gene Crawford, 59, convicted nine years ago of lewd and lascivious assault on a 15-year-old girl living in his house, lost a tooth and suffered a gash to his mouth in Monday's beating with a baseball bat.

Douglas Jacques, 30, and Donald Meredith, 44, later were arrested on charges of aggravated battery, according to Lee County sheriff's reports. Both men have prior battery convictions, court records show. Jacques and Meredith told investigators they went to Crawford's trailer and ordered him to leave town. When Crawford refused, Jacques walked into the trailer, grabbed a baseball bat and told Crawford if he didn't leave he was a ''dead man.''

One of the men then set fire to a small pile of trash near Crawford's trailer. Crawford said he messed up in 1991, but now follows the law. ''I just want to be left alone,'' said Crawford, who served 15 years probation in the 1991 conviction. ..more.. : by Associated Press

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