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Florida Man Confesses to Attempting to Light Sex Offenders on Fire

There are many fictional characters who take revenge on those they feel the law has not fully punished. Dexter, the Godfather, and the Punisher are all characters who offer “alternative” justice.  One man attempted to find such alternative justice in Florida.

Police claim that Jorge Porto-Sierra confessed to attempting to murder four people at the Friendly Village Motel on Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. Jorge admitted he wanted to “barbecue all the child molesters on fire and kill them.”

At least two of the four would-be victims are convicted sex offenders. Witnesses also confirmed that Jorge was screaming “I’m going to kill you, child molester,” before throwing gasoline on their front door.  Jorge failed to carry out his threats only because the police arrived in time.

Who is a Sex Offender?

Florida divides people who commit sex crimes into two groups: sexual predators and sexual offenders. The sex predator designation is reserved for those who have committed first degree felony sex crimes, such as rape or kidnapping of a minor for sexual purposes. The sex offender group is for defendants who have committed all other sex crimes. If a sex offender in another state moves to Florida, the sex offender would be required to register in Florida as well.

Contrary to popular belief, laws against sex crimes do specifically include activities such as peeing in public. Instead, Florida’s sex crimes are broad statutes that give prosecutors and judges leeway to classify a defendant as a sex offender if the need arises.

Most people would agree with sex crime laws as written, at least the theory behind them. For instance, sending minors pornographic images is considered a sex crime worthy of the sex offender registry.

The problem is that prosecutor discretion can be abused or used in ways that most people or lawmakers can foresee. A sixteen year old sending a nude picture of herself to her eighteen year old boyfriend could be considered an adult receiving child pornography. Similarly, if a man pees in public and he has the misfortunate of minor children around, police could arrest him for masturbating in public.

If Porto-Sierra wanted to be sure to punish perverts who sexually abused children, he should have gone after sexual predators. Sex offenders could easily be people whose facts were twisted around to make a vague law.

Sexual predators can still be innocent, but first-degree felony charges are more difficult to hand wave away. Of course, it’s not advocated that anyone go outside the law to punish sexual predators. Those on the registry have already served out their time in prison and merely being on the registry is often a punishment by itself.

What Happens to People on Florida’s Sex Offender Registry?

Florida has severe restrictions for those convicted of sex crimes, even after release from prison. The defendant will be required to register as a sexual offender. Like most states, registered sex offenders in Florida must stay at least 1,000 feet away from any school, childcare center, playground, or anywhere else children might gather.

Similarly, the sex offender cannot work with or around children. The defendant would also be required to keep a travel log of wherever he (or she) goes, and cannot drive a car without the probation officer’s permission. The sex offender must also test for HIV, so that any victims can be notified if necessary.

Unlike other states though, Florida imposes additional restrictions on sex offenders. Sex offenders are not allowed to view, own, or possess pornography. They are not allowed to access the internet until they complete a sex offender treatment program, at their own expense.

State Monopoly

Men like Porto-Sierra might have good intentions, but the state must prosecute him to avoid any more incidents. The law has already decided what the punishment is for those convicted of sex crimes.

Some of the sex offenders he targeted could have been young and dumb, or in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even if the offenders were depraved animals, the law has already given their sentences. Porto-Sierra did not have the authority to rewrite their sentences.

Porto-Sierra might believe he was trying to defend other children from being molested. Even if that were true, that does not excuse his attempted murders. Defense of others is only valid if there were people in immediate danger. Attacking former inmates if they were not posing a threat to others is not legally sanctioned.

Jason Cheung

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