Some shocking arrested have been made in Northwest Florida involving sexual related offenses.



A school bus driver in Santa Rosa County, a clerk at the tax collectors office, and even a home health nurse in Pensacola, but these are things that do not always come up in a background check.



"We do a very through screening," said Santa Rosa County School Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick. "We run background checks, arrest records, fingerprints, and screen them six days of Sunday."



Yet one factor was not in place when the background checks occurred, and that was an arrest, offense, or complaint.



"When you do a background check and look for items like this an offense has to have taken place to raise a red flag," said Sgt. Scott Haines with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office. "The two recent arrests in Santa Rosa County didn't raise any flags because there were no previous offenses."



Haines was referring to Lee Calvin Pardue, a former bus driver in Santa Rosa County, who is facing eight sexual related charges including two counts of sexual assault, two counts of promoting a sexual performance by a child and two counts of possession of child pornography.



Edward Collinsworth, who is currently been charged with 15 counts of sexual assault, wasn't charged until one of his accusers felt moved to come forward in light of the Jerry Sandusky trial and sentencing.



While these crimes have come to light there are ways you can take measures to protect yourself.



A search of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website indicated there were almost 2,000 registered sexual offenders in seven counties which make up Northwest Florida.



Santa Rosa County ranks fourth on the list with 276 registered sex offenders as of Wednesday behind Escambia, who leads the region, with 747, Bay (336), and Okaloosa (321).



To check yourself you can go to the FDLE's website at www.fdle.state.fl.us and click on the sexual offender database in the left hand column of the page.



On this page you can search for offenders, look for offender alerts, frequently asked questions, and there is information for sexual predators and offenders.



According to the FDLE, a sexual predator or offender is subject to registration and must report in person to the sheriff's office in the county, which they reside or are located to re-register. This applies to both the offenders and predators who have been released from sanctions as well as those under some form of supervision.



Unfortunately these sexual related charges do not just focus on minor's, as was the case of the arrest of Taqiuita Watson, 29 of Pensacola.



Watson was arrested on Nov. 5 and charged with sexual assault with a victim 12 years of age or older special conditions.



Watson, who had been providing in-home care for the victim the last three months, is alleged to have used a sexual instrument on the bedridden geriatric patient.



Those who feel there is a concern about an adult or individual they have come in contact with can call the DCF Abuse hotline at 1-800-962-2873.



"When it comes to kids their safety comes first," Wyrosdick said. "There are several avenues you can go to contact if it involves a child or anyone.



"There is the DCF Abuse Hotline, contact the Santa Rosa County Sheriffs Office or any law enforcement agency, and if it involves a student in the school system you can contact the Santa Rosa County School System Central Office."



 



Sexual Offenders and Predators in Northwest Florida



County



Escambia       747



Santa Rosa    276



Okaloosa     321



Walton     117



Holmes    69



Washington   69



Bay      336