DAVIE (CBSMiami) – A Broward mother says she is horrified that a registered sex offender uses his cell phone to take a photo of her 9-year-old daughter inside a Publix supermarket on Monday.
Davie Police say they were alerted and investigated. And while they say they found the picture “inappropriate,” they could find anything illegal about the sex offender’s actions.
The man, however, was told though to stay away from the supermarket.
Now that mother is planning to join other mothers this Saturday in passing out flyers about the sex offender not far from his home in Pembroke Pines on Pines Boulevard just east of University Drive.
Leon told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “It is disgusting. I am angry. I am really determined to warn other parents that this is happening.”
Leon said she can’t believe that 64-year-old registered sex offender Joseph Fezza took a picture of her daughter.
“This sex offender started taking pictures of my daughter. She was there with my father. Someone in line saw him doing it and notified my Dad and called the manager.”
Leon was so upset that she posted a warning on Facebook for anyone living in Hollywood and Pembroke Pines.
“This man was caught taking a picture of my daughter,” said the warning. “We called the cops.”
Leon said, “My daughter had no idea he pointed the camera at her or that this was going on.”
Records show Fezza was convicted of distributing child pornography in 2005 and served 6 years.
“He’s just lurking around taking pictures of children,” said Leon.
Captain Dale Engle of the Davie Police Department said, “Initially he wasn’t truthful. He denied taking pictures. We found pictures of the girl. It was inappropriate but no violation of the law.”
Davie Police checked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the state of New York and found no provisions barring Fezza from taking such pictures.
They can also not prove Fezza violated the state’s voyeurism law.
“First we have to be able to prove he took the pictures for lewd reasons,” he said. “Second there has to be an expectation of privacy and in such public places as Publix, there is no expectation of privacy.”
Engle said that police deleted the picture they found on Fezza’s phone of Leon’s daughter.
Leon has a warning for parents.
“People need to be aware that this man is out there, in Cooper City, Pembroke Pines and Davie.”
Sharon Kieler said she saw the warning on Facebook and recognized Fezza. She said she’s never seen Fezza at the store in Davie, but she says has seen him at a different store although she didn’t see him taking pictures.
“I have seen him at the Publix on sheridan and 56th,” she said, adding, “He was just sitting there and i just assumed he was waiting on somebody, but now that I’ve seen the story it makes you wonder.”
Captain Engle says if you see any suspicious activity that includes strangers taking pictures of children, call the police. They will investigate.