• Port Orange votes to keep sex offenders far from children's gathering places


    PORT ORANGE, Fla. - Port Orange city leaders approved tougher restrictions for sex offenders Tuesday night. But it wasn't enough to satisfy all of the city's residents.

    Some city residents became upset when they learned a convicted sex offender recently moved into a home across from an elementary school.

    The convicted sex offender, Howard Porter, attended Tuesday's meeting to tell his side of the story.

    Porter told residents and council members that when he committed his crime in 2004 he was going through a rough divorce and was drinking heavily. He described Tuesday night's meeting as a "mob lynching."

    That ordinance will not force Porter to move from his current home across from Sugar Mill Elementary School without violating state law.

    He was convicted in New York federal court for distributing child pornography. That conviction was before the law went into effect that prevents sex offenders from living near schools, Porter is grandfathered in.

    That didn't stop residents from expressing their displeasure at having Porter in their neighborhood.

    "Distributing child pornography was his charge. Great place to take pictures, ain't it guys?" one resident said.

    "The heck with the grandfather, let's tell him he has to move and let's go to court and see what happens," said another.

    Porter seemed to understand the reason for the public's outrage.

    "All I do is put fear in people's hearts and they worry about the kids. I have kids too, so I understand where these people come from," Porter said.

    He said he has no plan to move just yet.

    "My family is doing what a family does, they're letting me stay there and get back on my feet. That's what any family does," said Porter.

    Even with the city's new ordinance, many residents left even more upset than when they entered.

    "Nobody is doing anything about it because we have laws that we have to follow. In the meanwhile, you tell me how I'm going to go to sleep tonight," said Christine Herring.

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    Port Orange votes to keep sex offenders far from children's gathering places