Bus stop being moved away from sex offender's home in North Port

Image 1 of 5

A neighborhood bus stop in North Port, Florida is moving after parents found out who lives nearby.

A registered sex offender moved in months before the end of last school year. Parents tell FOX 13 News have had an uneasy feeling since.

The spot near Allure Lane and South Salford Boulevard has been the area's school bus stop for years. Parent Mary Woods said the bus lets kids off right in front of 71-year-old Gary Harrison's home.

"Lots of small children get off the bus there," Woods said.

Harrison is a convicted sex offender from Kentucky. He moved in last January.

"That's our biggest concern that any child that comes to that bus stop is safe and there's kids that hang out at that bus stop at 6:30 in the morning," parent Christopher Gabel said.

Gabel said he saw Harrison watching kids get on and off the bus. He told his child to wait for the bus on the other side of the street.

"I know he did his time and hopefully he was rehabilitated, but his actions don't show it to me. Why does he have to be outside when the kids are getting in and off the bus?" Gabel asked.

Sex offenders cannot live within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, or childcare facility, but bus stops are exempt from that rule.

The Sarasota County School District's solution is to move the bus stop.

"Why should we move the bus stop? Why should it be moved when it was there and now he's moved in and the situation has changed? That dosen't make sense to me," Gabel said.

The district has already come up with a new location for the bus route. Officials asked the location not be publically shared. The district will talk to parents to make sure they are ready for the first day of school on Monday.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement registry, Harrison has been convicted of first-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse, and sexual battery. At least one of his crimes involved a minor.