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Residents attempt to oust sex offenders from home

4-12-2005 Florida:

Police do nothing knowing full well what neighbors are doing is against the law including the registry law!

.Neighbors, some incognito in hats and sunglasses, protested in front of a home Monday in an attempt to pressure the landlord to evict two convicted sex offenders who have been living there since February. About two dozen people carried signs with messages such as "Sexual Predators and Kids Don't Mix" in front of a home on Howell Branch Road. Neighboring homes displayed yard signs with arrows pointing to where the registered sex offenders live. [snip]

Before the protest, suggested strategies included encouraging neighbors to call the landlord at home at all hours, pressuring the city's code-enforcement officers to cite the home for violations and even trying to buy the house. After one late-night call to the landlord, at least one area resident was warned by the Seminole County Sheriff's Office that it could be considered harassment. [snip]

The two men were home Monday afternoon, waiting out the protest in front of the single-story home. Debris that neighbors said was left from last year's hurricanes littered the overgrown yard. "We have been harassed all day today," Baxley said from the motorized wheelchair he uses to get around. Baxley said he suffers from multiple sclerosis, and Smith has Parkinson's disease. [snip]

But as long as the men follow the terms of their parole, "there's no action we can take," Farrell said. "Every time we notify people, we have the same thing happen," Farrell said of the neighbors' outrage. In other cases, neighbors have bought the house. ..more.. by Christopher Sherman

Winter Park neighbors glad sex offenders moved

5-28-2005 Florida:

.WINTER PARK -- After enduring months of loud honks, shouted expletives and picketers on their front sidewalk, two convicted sex offenders moved out of their rental home. The yard signs with arrows that pointed to where the two men lived were gone Friday, and neighbors breathed a sigh of relief that their children are no longer "under lock down."

"Everyone's thrilled," said Barry Render, a Rollins College professor. "We were victorious, but it doesn't feel like a victory. It was just an aggravating three months." Neighbors were alerted by police shortly after the two men, both convicted sex offenders, moved into the small home on Howell Branch Road in February.

Almost immediately, they began a campaign to drive the men out and at one point grew so desperate that they even protested at the Longwood home of the two men's landlord. The landlord, Noemi Ruiz, sold the house, and the two men, who remain on probation, moved to an assisted-living facility in Orlando, said Robby Cunningham, spokesman for the Department of Corrections.

Burnice Baxley, 64, and Michael Smith, 62, told reporters last month that they remained holed up in the house, unable to leave except for the grocery store and medical appointments because of the protests. They could not be reached for comment Friday. Neighbors, though, said they feared for the safety of students who walk past the home on their way to Dommerich Elementary and Maitland Middle schools.

Baxley, who uses a wheelchair, told the Sentinel that he suffers from multiple sclerosis and that Smith has Parkinson's disease. "I think in their younger days they were very, very dangerous because of the offenses they committed," Winter Park police Lt. Wayne Farrell said. "I think with age and health problems, the threat probably decreased." Farrell said officers on patrol rarely saw the men leave the house. ..more.. by Beth Kassab

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