Florida Sex Offender Caught in Catch-22 Of Residency Ordinance


The Miami Herald reports the story of a registered sex offender caught in a quirk of a local ordinance designed to keep such offenders from living near schools, parks and playgrounds. The offender, Joseph Mortimer, and his wife took out an equity loan on their longtime Miami-Dade home during the real-estate boom then fell into foreclosure in February. They bought another house just a block away, but they barred by law from moving there.

Mortimer was convicted of molesting a teenager in 1993. Because he lived in his house before the ordinance was passed in 2005, he was allowed to stay there despite its proximity to two schools. But the location of his newly purchased house — about one block away — violates county law. In court recently, Mortimer begged Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jorge Cueto for help. The judge said there was nothing he could do. Critics of Miami-Dade’s controversial ordinance say it leaves offenders with few places to live.

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