Port Orange residents angered by sex offender living near school, playground



PORT ORANGE, Fla. - Some residents in Port Orange told Channel 9's Blaine Tolison they are scared to let their children play in their back yards because a registered sex offender is living next door.

The residents living along McDonald Road said the registered offender can see an elementary school and playground from his home's front window.

Tolison caught up with Howard Porter, a convicted sex offender, outside of his Port Orange apartment Tuesday.

"I want to get your side to this whole thing," Tolison told Porter.

"I have nothing to say," said Porter.

Porter lives across the street from Sugarmill Elementary School.

Neighbors said they are furious because there is nothing they can do about it and they have small children.

"I have a half-acre fenced-in back yard and I can't let my kids in the backyard. (Porter's) back yard lines our back yard," said resident Marilyn Davis.

According to Port Orange records, Porter moved to McDonald Road a few weeks ago.

In 2004, he was convicted in a New York federal court for distributing child pornography. State law would prevent him from living within 1,000 feet of a school, but Porter was convicted before that law went into effect, and the city of Port Orange did not have its own ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live.

Now, if an ordinance is established, officials say Porter would be grandfathered in. Some neighbors told Tolison they are thinking about moving.

"We can't live next door to him," said Davis.

City officials said the city was already working on an ordinance that would extend residency restrictions for sex offenders. The first reading of that ordinance will be at a city meeting Tuesday night.