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Police Tell About Sex Offenders

Police tell about sex offenders

Residents along 21st A venue got some startling news Wednes­day when they learned they share the neighborhood with a convicted sexual offender.

Detectives with the Vero Beach Police Department pinned up no­tices and knocked on doors to alert residents that one of their neighbors was charged in the late 1980s with committing lewd and lascivious acts upon a child.

Brenda K. Williams Franks, 1853½ 21st Ave., is the second convicted sex offender city resi­dents have been alerted to since the Public Safety Information Act was passed last October. She could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

A public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Vero Beach City Hall to discuss the law and the local Police Department’s policy on notification. Also, a computer list of every sexual of­fender or ·predator released into the county will be available to resi­dents in the lobby of the Vero Beach Police Department later this month.

The law forces agencies to no­tify neighbors when a sexual pred­ator moves in nearby.

Sexual offenders, those con­victed of less serious sexual crimes, also can be subject to the law if lo­cal law-enforcement agencies de­cide their convictions warrant pub­lic notification. A majority of the 15 sexual offenders living in Vero Beach will be advertised at the dis­cretion of the Police Department.

Williams was an employee of a Stuart Montessori school, where accusations of child sexual abuse were lodged against her, the school’s administrator and his wife in 1986 and 1987. She se_rved part of a IO-year sentence and was re­leased from jail in 1993.

“This was a tough case to prove, and a lot of people were re­ally upset about this one,” said Detective Bob Green, making his rounds among the neighborhood’s old grove-style homes. Two schools, St. Helen School and Miss Ellie’s Child Care and Preschool, flank the neighborhood.

“We should be concerned, but we should not panic,” Touchberry said. He repeated the words sev­eral times Wednesday, emphasiz­ing to residents that the offender has lived in their community with­out incident “for a while.” According to the state’s offender hot line, Franks moved into the area Oct. 2, 1997.

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