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State lawmakers push for changes to sex offender regulations

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Updated: 6/25/2013 8:11 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Parents call him the face of pure evil.

"It makes me sick every time I see his face because how could you do that to a child," said mother Sarah Session.

Donald Smith is no stranger to shackles. Action News had learned he had a history of sex crimes against children. Just three weeks before he was arrested in connection to the death of little Cherish Perrywinkle, he had just gotten out of jail for another offense.

Parents want to know why he was allowed back on the streets to prey on children like Cherish again.

"People get released and do the same thing," said parent Heather Bell.

Smith was labeled a sex offender not a predator. After he served his jail time he had a good deal of freedom. Some parents say the rules for offenders aren't strict enough. Action News took those concerns to state leaders.

"It sounds like he may have been able to slip through the cracks of the system," said State Rep. Mia Jones.

The tragedy hits close to home for Jones because it happened in her district. She says strengthening sex offender laws can't happen overnight, but she wants to get the ball rolling.

"I would hope as we go through this process as the court system goes through their process that this could be addressed and no other family will have to deal with anything like this," she said.

State representative Janet Adkins agrees.

"It's my intent to ensure that the Duval Delegation take action in reviewing the current laws that relate to sexual offenders," she said. "We need to strengthen the framework that will ensure children and families are safe."

Discussion about these laws are expected to be a hot topic in Tallahassee in the next few months.

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