Dear Members and Advocates,
This week (Friday) begins the National Association for Rational Sex Offense Laws (NARSOL) annual conference. Several FAC members will be attending this year’s conference and our own membership chairperson, Anita, will be one of the presenters. These annual events are great for multiple reasons. First, it’s an opportunity to learn about what efforts are working in other parts of the country so that we can implement them here in Florida. Second, it’s an opportunity to meet and network with professionals who are in the trenches fighting for us. It’s one thing to ‘know of’ certain key people in the advocacy community but it’s an entirely different thing to actually get to meet them and speak to them over lunch. Third, it’s motivating to see so many people coming together from all parts of the United States and all unified in a common fight. Very often we feel so isolated and alone, but these conferences remind us that we’re part of a community of over one million registrants, family members and friends. And a fourth reason why attending these conferences is so great is you get to see, in person and in real-time, the look of sympathy on people’s faces when they ask what state you are from.
This year’s conference will be taking place in Raleigh, North Carolina. If you have the time and means to attend in person, we strongly encourage you to try to make it. The good news for those who can’t be there, is that the 2022 conference will be live streamed and you can sign up to watch all of the plenary presentations and some of the training sessions from home. Visit https://secure.narsol.org/conference-signup-live-stream/ to sign up for access.
Another upcoming event we want you to be aware of is the release of Jorge Porto-Sierra from Taylor Correctional Institute on June 21st. In 2018, Porto-Sierra traveled to the Friendly Village Inn & Motel in Kissimmee to “barbecue all the child molesters on fire and kill them.” (his words, not ours). The motel was one of the few places where registrants could live in compliance with the SORR, so many of them were clustered there. Porto-Sierra drove to the motel, broke one of the room’s windows and started pouring gasoline inside, screaming “I’m going to kill you, child molester!” The two men staying inside managed to escape through the back windows. He then went into the parking lot, got in his car and rammed into another vehicle in which two individuals were sitting, got out and poured gasoline on their car as they were still inside. Just as Porto-Sierra was preparing to set the car on fire, police arrived. When confronted by police he admitted that he would have gone after more registrants but “you got here too soon.”
Incredibly, despite being charged with four counts of attempted premeditated murder, Porto-Sierra is being released after spending only 4 years behind bars. It can only be presumed that the judge considered the intended victims when handing out the lenient sentence. It is unclear whether he will be released to Osceola or Orange County. With the pending release of an individual who was convicted of attempting to murder people on the registry, we need to be mindful that our names, pictures, addresses and vehicle information are listed on the registry and there are people out there who intend to do us harm. A couple of weeks ago, FAC sent this letter to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, but we have received no response.
Also, in DeSoto County, the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office decided to post the identities of all the registrants in it’s county on their Facebook page. The post got a few comments including one from an individual named Josh Rowan, who wrote, “Open Season ?” (the term “open season” refers to a period when restrictions on hunting are lifted). That was followed by another from Joel Maassen, who wrote, “where can we get tags” (the term “tag” is used in the hunting context to mean a physical tag you attach to the kill which contains certain information such as the date and time of the kill. Tags are issued by the government). Maassen’s comment was followed by another from Rowan, who wrote, “they have their address on each location and they can’t own firearms so” followed by an emoji.
FAC immediately reached out to the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office. They said because Mr. Rowan and Maassen didn’t identify which person on the registry was the target of the threat, they could not do anything about it. What?!?! In the wake of these mass shootings and people calling for “red flag” laws, how can a police department ignore this glaring red flag? Certainly if someone had posted something implying they were going to commit a school shooting, the DeSoto Sheriff would not sit back and say, “we’re going to ignore this threat because he didn’t specify which elementary school he was going to target”. Or would he?
On November 6, 2018 Florida passed an amendment to the State Constitution which established a set of rights and protections for crime victims. These rights are commonly known as Marsy’s Law for Florida. Among them is the right, “[t]o have information or records protected that could be used to locate or harass the victim or which could disclose confidential or privileged information about the victim.” Every day registrants are the victims of threats, assaults, vandalism or worse, all because vigilantes find them on the registry and know police will do little (if anything) to protect them. If you have been a victim, be aware of Marsy’s Law and know that you too have rights that the police cannot ignore or brush off. Also, it is important to note that Marsy’s Law is not self-invoking. You need to inform law enforcement that you would like to invoke the protections of Marsy’s Law.
If you, your family or your property are targeted by a vigilante or are threatened with harm because you appear on the registry, you might be eligible for the protections afforded under Marsy’s Law. Don’t be a sitting duck, find out. For those who are concerned about Porto-Sierra, Rowan or Maassen, below is the contact information for the Osceola, Orange and DeSoto County Sheriff’s Offices, where you can find out what is being done to protect you and your families from harm.
Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, 2601 E Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, FL 34744, 407-348-1100
Orange County Sheriff’s Office, 2500 W Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32804, 407-254-7000
DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office, 208 E Cypress St, Arcadia, FL 34266, 863-993-4700
The Florida Action Committee
See Calendar of Events – Keep up with Meet-and-Greets in your area, Support groups, Membership Calls, and other events. For questions, contact [email protected] or call 833-273-7325,Option 1.
Click Here for Calendar, and double click on the event to view details and RSVP instructions
July 16 – Sarasota Meet-and Greet
July 23- Lee County Meet and Greet in Ft Myers
July 30 – Manatee Meet-and Greet
Aug 6 – Orange County Meet-and-Greet in Apopka
Aug 20 – Volusia County Meet-and-Greet in Daytona
Aug 27 – Broward Meet and Greet in Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood
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SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK
Rejecting longstanding legal precedent, a state appeals court said Friday that a man convicted of attempted sexual battery on a child is eligible to be considered for early release from prison. Judge Adam Tanenbaum, in a 22-page majority decision, said state law bars…
Roughly a third of all registered sex offenders in Pinellas County are 55 or older, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office data. Many have spent decades behind bars and are reentering society as older adults. When their health deteriorates, these seniors often…
If you know of anyone in any of the states listed below who is looking for entry level work, please send them my way. This work-from-home position involves talking on the phone through a computer. Much of it is doing political surveys. It is not difficult work, though…
Martin County Sheriff: to ask county leaders to require sex offenders to live farther from schools, parks, day cares
Martin County commissioners Tuesday will consider expanding the distance registered sex offenders in the county have to live from playgrounds, schools and day care centers. Current registered sex offenders living in the county would be grandfathered into the new rule,…