June 17, 2011

Man removed from predator registry

6-17-2011 Florida:

Editor's note: A previous version of this story misstated the number of people who have been removed from the sexual predator list.

DELTONA -- The rented house on Adirondack Street where Gregory M. Allen last lived with his family as a registered sexual predator is now empty.

No longer listed as a predator, Allen's whereabouts are private. Since a clemency board granted Allen a full pardon three months ago, that is his right.

"We just want to move forward," Allen said back in December, after the state's clemency board granted the request, which removed him from the state registry as a sexual predator.

He'd been on the list since 2002, even though he was not convicted of a crime.

In mid-January, Allen became one of fewer than 10 people to be removed from the registry by the action of a clemency board since the list was created in 1997, Heather Smith, a spokeswoman with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said.

The board, which was led by then-Gov. Charlie Crist and three members of the Cabinet, considered words from Allen's therapists and wishes of his family. They said it was a rare instance in which removal from the sex offender list was warranted.

Allen and his wife, with whom he has seven children, have stuck together since his arrest on a charge accusing him of molesting a 12-year-old girl in 2001. They lost their home to foreclosure and had to move frequently because of laws that regulate where sexual offenders and predators can live.

Clemency board members in general said they are strict when it comes to sex crimes. But Allen was a special case.

"I will move we grant a pardon," Crist said during the meeting on Dec. 9.

Outgoing Attorney General Bill McCollum, who was on the board before his replacement by Pam Bondi, said he was troubled by Allen's case. If the pardon was not granted for a man who had continued to be punished in spite of doing everything he could to reform, McCollum said, he had concern Allen's children would suffer.

Alex Sink, the chief financial officer at the time, said the "public interest has to be protected," while weighing the fact that Allen had not repeated an offense for nearly 10 years. "I'm pretty strict, like the attorney general," she said. "This man has a family to provide for. I also want his children to be protected."

McCollum, saying he would support the pardon, expressed an interest in reforming the process, referring to the law which requires a pardon to remove someone from the registry, which can be a long and difficult process.

"There needs to be another remedy the Legislature and our successors need to address," he said.

There are now 781 registered sexual offenders and predators living in Volusia County. Allen, 51, was living in Brevard County and working as a technician for Lockheed Martin when he was charged with sexual molestation of a child under 16.

"I did a terrible thing, we talked about getting counseling to make this right," Allen said.

Allen had reported his own conduct to people at work, hoping to get treatment, but the admission led to his arrest. In court a year later, he pleaded no contest. Adjudication of guilt was withheld, meaning Allen was never convicted of the crime.

His 10-year sentence of probation was terminated early because of recommendations from mental health therapists and his wife, records show.

But Allen was judged every day as a registered sexual predator, he told the clemency board.

He lost his job and subsequent jobs and had to move frequently, which hurt his wife and children. "My wife has been with me through this illness," he said.

"We've learned to make it through this. To this day, we are a strong family. We don't go anywhere without each other."

During the clemency hearing, Jackie Allen asked for mercy for her husband of 17 years.

"He's been laid off," she said, describing how it's been difficult for the hard-working father to find and keep work. "Once his picture came up, they'd release him."

One voice opposed her request. Assistant State Attorney Bill Respess, a prosecutor from the office in Brevard County that prosecuted Allen, requested he remain on the registry.

The list, Respess said, was created in 1997 to alert and protect the public from people charged with sex crimes.

"The reason for the registry is to protect the rest of us," Respess said.

According to court records, Allen served in both the U.S. Marine Corp. and Air Force before working in the aerospace industry. He was designated as a low risk to offend again. Since his arrest, he'd lost numerous jobs and had trouble getting others.

Allen could not be reached for this story. Messages left with neighbors seeking comment were not returned. Although he does not need to tell authorities where he lives, Allen's criminal records remain open to the public.

In the court file in Titusville, Allen's completion of sexual offender treatment since 2001 is documented. "No further therapy is needed at this time," therapist Duncan Bowen wrote in June 2007.

Another doctor, Kay May, described Allen the same year as a responsible man, deserving of a second chance.

"Who is Greg Allen, besides being a registered sex offender?" she wrote. "He is honest and conscientious, ethical, responsible. He is a caring and kind individual who works well with others. He is also a person who is desperately trying to redeem himself."

An FDLE spokeswoman said the pardon that removed Allen from the registry would not remove all trace of his record. In spite of the fact that Allen's adjudication of guilt was withheld, and he has lost no civil rights because he was not convicted, there are still records of the case. ..Source.. by JAY STAPLETON, Staff Writer


Robin said...

A clemency board for the registry? Every reason they gave for giving him clemency IS EVERY REASON THERE SHOULD NOT BE A REGISTRY!!! The registry was not protecting his kids when employers kept letting him go for no reason. When a vigilante randomly decides to throw a molotov in his window; protection? The registry serves everyone's perverse interest EXCEPT THE CHILDREN. When they become interested in the children, maybe something realistic like community provided day care and health care could be high on the list. What better way to protect children than responsible supervision. But based on their rationale, this board has another 10,000 registrants to pardon immediately.

Daniel Goichman said...

pardon eveybody. get rid of the registry and allow one-time criminals to enjoy life,liberty and the pursuit of making money.the pro-lifers want to protect the lives of people who haven't even been born yet. how about protecting the lives of 827,000 people who have their info. on the internet - and are prevented from living their lives and fulfilling their dreams.