Border War: Sex Offender Stranded in Delray as Broward Drags Its Feet

Whatever you may think of Ronald Earl Murphy, who in 1996 beat a woman and forced her to have sex, the guy deserves a place to live. The question is where. I posted yesterday about how Murphy, a registered sex offender, has claimed a permanent residence as a transient in Delray Beach. But late yesterday, I reached the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office and learned that while Murphy is Palm Beach County's problem, he's Broward County's responsibility.

Yesterday, I asked Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for Palm Beach Sheriff's Office, where Murphy was. "He's actually sitting in front of a building in downtown Delray," she said. "He wants to go to Broward County, but they haven't approved it."

Indeed, Murphy's profile at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's website shows that he's been free at least since September 11. PBSO is obligated to inform residents within a certain period of time that there's a sex offender living in their midst.

What's the holdup? "They have to make sure that wherever he moves is within the guidelines," said Barbera. "It can't be within a certain distance of a school, a daycare, or a park."

That "building" where Murphy lives? It's the Florida Department of Corrections Probation and Parole office, at the northeast corner of Southeast Third Avenue and Southeast Second Street. So his probation officer doesn't have to walk far to pay Murphy a visit, assuming Murphy doesn't exercise his free will to go roaming through the neighborhood.

I'll be trying to reach Murphy's probation officer today. I'm guessing Broward County isn't in a hurry to welcome Murphy to the neighborhood.

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