• Judge didn't know sex offender was 1,000 feet from day care


    CLERMONT, Fla. - A convicted sex offender allowed to live less than 1,000 feet from a community park and day care could go back to jail.

    Shannon Baruch, 25, was sentenced to five years probation last October. He pleaded no contest to a sex crime against a minor.

    At the time, Judge Lawrence Semento allowed him to live with his parents in Clermont.  At a hearing in Lake County Tuesday, Semento said he realized he was wrong.

    "I did so because I was under the impression the location of the residence didn't violate state law," Semento said.

    Clermont police rearrested Baruch in February.  They measured and found he was living less than 1,000 feet from a community park and day care, a clear violation of state law.

    In Clermont, it's even stricter – offenders must maintain a distance of 2,500 feet.

    Police said Baruch's attorney, Wayne Golding, misinformed the judge and said his client was far enough away from the closest school, Clermont Elementary.

    But no one bothered to check if there were other places nearby where children congregate.

    "I believe it was the defendant's attorney who didn't have all the facts and (the) judge didn't know," said Sgt. Brent Joyner of Clermont police.

    Golding told the judge he accepts the ruling.

    According to police, his client is still living in the neighborhood. A ruling on whether Baruch is in violation of that is set for next Tuesday.

    Baruch may not only have to move, but go back to jail.

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