Clay County parents concerned about registered sex offender living near school

Sex predator legally living near schools in Clay County

The Clay County Sheriff's Office announced Friday afternoon it is aware of a registered sexual predator living at a home near Lakeside Elementary and Junior High schools after numerous calls from parents.

A registered sex predator is now living across the street from local elementary and middle school, and it’s completely legal.

Friday, Clay County families said they’re afraid to have their children walk to and from Lakeside Elementary and Junior High.

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Margarte Bass told Action News Jax her daughter has always walked to the junior high, but she won’t be doing that anymore.

“I mean if he walks out of his front door he’s just standing in front of the school, you know what I mean, watching kids walk by,” explained Bass.

Deputy Chris Padgett, with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, said the office has received an overwhelming number of phone calls from worried parents.

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“They’ve seen this subject sitting outside on his front porch and they don’t like the fact that he’s out there sitting when children are walking to school or leaving school," he said.

According to Florida law, those convicted of a sexual offense before October 2004 aren’t restricted in where they can live.

Because the man was convicted in 1995 he isn’t breaking any law by living across the street from the schools.

“By us trying to dictate otherwise would be a constitutional violation just like it would be if we tried to dictate it to any other resident,” explained Padgett.

"They have right to live there as long as they've paid their dues to society for so forth and so on but still it makes you a little uneasy," said Eren Jackson when she picked her grandson up from Lakeside Elementary.

Other parents said they’re changing their schedules so their children don’t have to walk by the house.

“We’ll be dropping her off at the school every day. Every day," Bass said. "Like, she can’t walk from the house. She can’t be walking home.”

Deputies are asking parents to report suspicious behavior.

CCSO also listed a website where residents can obtain more information about sex offenders and predators with Clay County.