Home For Multiple Sex Offenders Sparks Concern In NW Jax
Fri Jan 11, 1:43 PM ET
Concern is building in a Northwest Jacksonville community where neighbors say a home for multiple sex offenders is too close for comfort.
Residents who live along Wandering Trail said they recently started receiving fliers in the mail from the sheriff's office letting them know a sex offender had moved into the area.
They said they later found out there were multiple offenders living under the same roof near a place where their children play.
"There's nothing wrong with rehabilitating, but you don't rehabilitate someone with that type of a problem near 15 children," said resident Diane Knowles.
"(I'm) very worried. Sit up at night wondering if someone's going to try and get in window or not," another resident told Channel 4.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Web site lists six sex offenders registered as living at the same address on Wandering Trail.
Channel 4 learned a religious organization called Philadelphia Christian Center owns the property where the sex offenders live.
A member of that organization told reporter Scoot Johnson by phone that there's "nothing to talk about" and that the home "meets all the legal requirements."
However, that did not mean much to Wandering Trial neighbor Larry Knowles.
"I told him that didn't matter to me," he said. " There's a lot of children around here, and that all that matters to me."
The community invited city officials to a meeting Thursday evening to determine if the sex offender's living situation is illegal.
"Only if they're unrelated. If there are six unrelated people living in single family dwelling, that could be a violation of the zoning code," said Charlie Wilson, of the city of Jacksonville.
The city's code compliance division said it had not determined how many people are actually living in the home. Neighbors said they know of six offenders who have lived in the home, but one of the sex offenders may have moved.
Officials said there's no law of which they are aware that would limit sex offenders from living in the neighborhood near Wandering Trial.
The city's investigation of the living situation is ongoing.
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