Bill to close sex offender loophole heads to DeSantis' desk

A proposal that would close a legal loophole in which some convicted sex offenders don’t have to immediately register with authorities was one of four bills sent Tuesday morning to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The sex-offender bill (SB 234), sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, D-Plantation, was crafted after courts ruled a Tampa man, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for molesting two girls, didn’t have to register as a sex offender after being released from prison until he paid the fine. 

"Despite a history of preying on young kids, this man was able to live freely and interact with unsuspecting children in person and online," Book said in a news release after lawmakers approved the bill April 27.

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"This man is the very definition of someone who should and must be on the sex offender registry and subject to things like community monitoring and residency restrictions, but because of this loophole, he could be living right next to a community pool."

DeSantis will have 15 days to act on the measure.