St. Lucie County attracting sex offenders

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - Port St. Lucie has nearly as many sex offenders as Martin, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties combined.

Next month, leaders will meet to figure out a new way to stop this growing trend. The Port St. Lucie Sheriff's Office claim sex offenders are moving to St. Lucie County because there are no strict laws governing how far they can live from a school, park or day care.

Those on probation after 2004 follow the state's rule, 1,000 feet from a school or park. The sheriff's office wants to change the distance to 2,500 feet. A public hearing is set for August 19th in front of county commissioners.

Joe Smith, St. Lucie County Commissioner, is concerned, "We want St. Lucie County to be a safe place to live and work, and we want to provide all opportunities to ensure that occurs."

A court hearing for a man charged with hundreds of counts of child molestation will be held on Wednesday. Dennis Elliott of West Palm Beach was charged with more than 850 counts of molestation in a previous court hearing.

Police say he abused a girl starting when she was nine years old, and continued for at least five years. He's expected to appear back in court to request a bond reduction.