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News Clips 10/10/2013
Sex offender registry extended to Florida colleges
Source: Orlando Sentinel, 10/09/13
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By Leslie Postal
Florida's Sex Offender registry has added a new feature that allows online users to search for "offenders" and "predators" on college campuses, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced today.
The Florida Legislature authorized funding this spring for the new search feature, which allows people to search by college or university -- and then by campus -- for offenders. The database includes both public and private schools and technical training centers.
The site shows there are seven offenders enrolled at the University of Central Florida's main campus, for example. But a UCF spokesman said the information may be outdated because it includes four people who are not currently enrolled.
More than 60,000 students are enrolled at UCF, the state's largest university.
The site also shows no offenders at Rollins College in Winter Park or University of Florida in Gainesville.
"Sex offenders in our system of higher education are a harsh reality. Helping to provide Florida's students the most efficient tools to identify and inform themselves about potential threats in their lives was a logical next step for me," said Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, a sponsor of the bill authorizing the feature.
FDLE said it hopes the state's colleges and universities put a link to the registry on their websites. Commissioner Gerald Bailey called the new search feature a "valuable source of public safety information."
The state's sex offender website can be accessed at: http://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/Search.jsp. UCF has its own website at http://www.police.ucf.edu/SexOffender.html.
Sexual offenders have been convicted of certain sexual offenses while predators have been convicted of violent sexual crimes, according to the website. State law requires offenders and predators to report higher education enrollment — as well as vocational training activities and employment — to their local sheriff's office, which then shares it with the school and FDLE.