Sex Offender Murphy Benched in Delray

We wrote about sex offender Ronald Murphy last week here and here, a man released from prison in September after serving 13 years on a rape conviction, and stuck in limbo ever since.

Murphy's home is currently a bench outside the Delray Beach Florida Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Office on the corner of NE 3rd Ave. and NE 2nd St.  Murphy, wearing an ankle monitor, is confined there from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night, obliged to sleep on a bench so narrow it barely accommodates his portly frame.

We caught up with Murphy Friday night around 7:30. The neighborhood is deserted, and Murphy must feel like a sitting duck. The sounds of gunfire and passing trains make it impossible to get much shut-eye, he said. Murphy can't move beyond the parking lot without setting off his ankle monitor. He has his wardrobe -- a few pairs of jeans and t-shirts -- spread out on an adjoining bench. He was reading a paperback to pass the time,  The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah.

Murphy said that during the day his son picks him up and they go do some construction work in Lauderdale, where Murphy wants to return. His parole officer, David Banks, he said, "is fighting real hard to get me out of here."

"This ain't no where anybody oughta be," Murphy said of his temporary home. "People are selling crack everywhere around here."

Murphy'd also heard that the night was going to get cold. "If I have to put on another shirt and three pairs of pants I'll stay warm," he said.

But if he's sleeping on a bench, there's a kind of rough justice. Murphy was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman he'd woken from a park bench in 1996. Released in 2005, he violated his parole when he was staying in a halfway house; he left the place and failed to register as a sex offender, so back to jail he went. Now, it seems, Broward doesn't want him and he has nowhere to stay in Delray, in part due to a dearth of legal residences for sex offenders, who have to maintain their distances from schools, parks, and daycare centers.

Murphy said his parole officer hopes to have him off the bench by Wednesday. We'll check back with him on Tuesday night for an update.

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