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Update on Benched Delray Beach Sex Offender

Over the last week, we've given you several posts about the pending fate of Ronald Murphy, the convicted rapist confined by ankle bracelet every night to a wooden bench in front of his probation officer's building.

This weekend, superstar reporter extraordinaire Gail Shepherd met with Murphy at his bench. He told her he expected to be off the bench and into some sort of housing in Broward--where his crime took place and where his son lives--by today. I stopped by Murphy's bench last night to see if he would be moving this morning.

He won't be.

Though he says there was some sort of meeting about his status held Monday night, there is still no housing available for him in either Broward or Palm Beach County. For the meantime, Murphy has to remain within a 100-yard parking lot from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Last night's storms made his evening particularly rough.

His clothes are laid flat over the two benches and the rest of his property he keeps in a white bucket near the ankle monitor station, which beeps every minute or so. He sleeps on a pillow he pulled from a garbage can. During the day, he stores the pillow in the bushes near where he relieves himself when nature calls. He's only a few feet from the railroad tracks, and about once an hour a freight train comes roaring through, drowning out the sounds of everything else. It doesn't make for great sleeping quarters, "but it's definitely better than prison," he told me.

While I was talking with Murhpy last night, three police officers arrived on a routine sex offender check. Two officers from Delray Police and one from Palm Beach Sheriff's Office made sure all their information on Murphy was up-to-date. They said they weren't sure why Murphy hadn't been relocated either--the problem nobody seems to know how to solve. They were one of two teams circulating throughout the city last night, and Murphy was the 21st offender this team visited. When they were satisfied Murphy was in compliance, they were gone.

A few minutes later, a Delray squad car drove past, but didn't enter Murphy's parking lot. "They never come up in here," he said. "I could die up here and nobody would know until morning."

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Michael J. Mooney

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