DAVIE (CBSMiami) – Police have given a registered sex offender who was seen allegedly taking a photo of a 9-year-old girl, inside of a Publix supermarket, 30-days to find a new residence.
The case began when the mother of the 9-year-old girl, Maria Leon, said she learned about the incident that happened Monday.
“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.”
Activist Valerie Parkhurst, along with Leon are grateful that stranger noticed and spoke up.
“We need to look out for our fellow human beings,” said Parkhurst. “It’s just imperative that we look out for one another and be alert for something like this. These guys are prolific, they’re everywhere.”
Davie Police were alerted and investigated 64-year-old registered sex offender Joseph Fezza.
While police found the picture “inappropriate,” they could find anything illegal about the sex offender’s actions.
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.
Fezza, however, was told though to stay away from the supermarket and police said he was given a 30-day notice of violation of a city ordinance that as a sexual offender he lives within certain distance of a school, daycare or park.
A manager where Fezza lived told CBS4 Friday that he has been evicted.
Leon plans to join other mothers Saturday at 8:30 a.m. in passing out flyers about the sex offender being in the area of Pines Boulevard just east of University Drive where Fezza lived. Parkhurst is an activist. She plans to join the protest and pass out flyers. “Normal people don’t do this. this guy isn’t normal. he got caught.”
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.”
A warning was posted on Facebook about Fezza for parents in the area of Davie, Hollywood and Pembroke Pines.
Police want to know if anyone has noticed other suspicious activity in the area. Call Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.
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