Ordinance zones sex offenders out of most of Pasco County

A new Pasco County ordinance further limits where registered sex offenders can live. 

Attorney Patrick Leduc is very critical of the new ordinance. He says it borders on unconsitutional. 

"What we are really trying to say is we don't want these people living among us," Leduc explained.

Communities everywhere have rules about where convicted sex offenders can live. But the new rule in Pasco county is one of the toughest.

It more than doubles the buffer zone between sex offenders and areas like schools, playgrounds, parks and libraries - from 1000 feet to 2,500 feet.

It includes anywhere where children congregate, including restaurants, stores and even home schools - all in an effort to protect children.

But here's where it gets complicated.

Leduc's client plead guilty in September to lewd acts with an underage girl in Hillsborough County. He wanted to move back home to Pasco County, but the new ordinance zoned him out.

The Department of Corrections put him up in a hotel in Hillsborough County, where he remains with tax payers footing the bill.

Leduc asked, "what's magical about 2,500 feet? What's to stop Pinellas County from saying, 'well, we'll erect a 5,000 feet barrier.'"

In October, Leduc decided to sue Pasco County, calling the ordinance unconstitutional and a violation of due process.

While he doesn't expect compassion for sex offenders, he says segregating an entire group of citizens into homelessness is wrong.

"Even these guys, as bad as they are, deserve some piece of human dignity," Leduc said. "They deserve some place to live that's not in a hotel or that is not homeless or is not out in the middle of the green swamp."

Leduc believes this new ordinance is politically motived and expects the trend to spread beyond the Pasco County line.

"How much is too much? At what point do we have a uniform statue that applies to the whole state? Or are we going to have a patchwork of 67 counties where each county is trying to out-do each other, " Leduc said.

Pasco County has until mid January to file its response to the lawsuit. FOX 13 reached out to the county for comment, but did not receive a response No one from the county was available for comment.

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