Convicted sex offender from Pennsylvania offered "scholarship" t - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Convicted sex offender from Pennsylvania offered "scholarship" to Martin County rehab facility

picture by MCSO picture by MCSO

After a convicted sex offender from Pennsylvania made his way down to Jensen Beach to attend a rehab facility the Martin County sheriff is looking into potential charges for obstruction of justice. 

Sheriff William Snyder says while trying to identify convicted sex offender, John Michael Janaskas, employees at the facility refused to tell detectives where Janaskas was. However, the law is clear that it's up to the sex offender to self-report any address changes. As far as how and why Janaskas ended up in South Florida, that points to a bigger issue, according to lawmakers.

According to the Pennsylvania sex offender registry and his criminal history,  John Michael Janaskas lives in Monroe County,  Pennsylvania. The registry lists Janaskas as "compliant", meaning he still lives at his listed address. However, the Martin County sheriff believes Janaskas arrived in south Florida on Thursday. That's 5 days ago and Janaskas was required by law to self report his address change within three.

The Sheriff's office says Janaskas was offered what it calls a "scholarship" by a drug treatment facility and sober home in Martin County, meaning Janaskas' treatment and even his transportation to South Florida was paid for by the rehab facility.

The facility can't be named because it's protected by federal law but lawmakers we've spoken with Tuesday afternoon say Janaskas's situation is familiar.

Representative Bill Hager has been working to pass more regulation for Florida sober homes. His office says many sober homes will advertise in colder climates like New Jersey and Pennsylvania to lure patients to Florida, tap out their insurance policies and then show them the door.     

We are still working to learn more about this treatment facility in Jensen Beach. An aid for Representative Hager's office says sober home scams are a relatively new problem but he is working with other lawmakers on solutions. As for Janaskas, he turned himself in to the Martin County sheriff Tuesday afternoon.     

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