Florida Sexual Predator Assigned to Live Under a Bridge
The view from the Dunns Creek Bridge couldn't be better. It's waterfront property, a hot fishing spot, and there is peace and quiet.
It's also where Causey Guyden, a 43-year-old convicted sex offender listed as his address with the state Department of Corrections, and it's where he was told to live after his June 1 release from prison.
Guyden was required to wear an ankle monitor and live more than 1,000 feet from a school or bus stop.
But that is where the problem begins.
"They directed him to live at the Dunns Creek Bridge because it's the only place in Putnam County that a sex offender can go and stay," says Bob Davis, Guyden's attorney.
Davis says Guyden had no money and his mom lived too close to a school.
The state admits it knows resources for sex offenders are limited and they are OK with Guyden living under the bridge.
That may be because sex offenders assigned to live under a bridge is nothing new.
"Unfortunately, this is not a new issue for the department. We've been dealing with this for a few years now. We see our numbers slowly increase. So, this is a problem that needs to be addressed. We know this is not a good situation," says Gretl Plessinger, with the Department of Corrections.
The department's hands are tied, officials say. Probation officers have to have a place to check on offenders and many times it is not a home.
"In some sex offenders, it's under a bridge, some it's their cars," said Plessinger.
Plessinger says there are 91 homeless sex offenders in Florida, most of them are in the southern part of the state.
"These situations aren't good for the public, and we have concerns about public safety when an offender can't find a place to live, whether it's a sex offender or another type of offender. They are more likely to violate their probation, more likely to break the law," said Plessinger.
But some say the law is part of the problem. "It's a guaranteed failure," says Davis.
The law, he says, doesn't leave many options for an offender to successfully meet the criteria for probation or parole.
"Causey actually begged them not to release him. When you have an inmate saying please don't release me, I can't do it, that is the part I find appalling."
Guyden is required to stay under the bridge from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
"If he has to go to the bathroom, he can't leave the bridge. I mean that's asinine. You're actually telling him to commit a new crime," says Davis.
Another problem Davis sees is Guyden's inability to charge the ankle monitor.
"He was told to walk up to the 7-11 and plug in. Which I don't know if the 7-11 would appreciate that."
The closest store to the bridge is 1.4 miles away. The state says it is up to the offender to find a place to charge the ankle monitor. If they don't, they go back to jail.
"Is it fail-safe?" asked Davis. "No, it isn't. I wish I could say that it was. People certainly need to be cautious, but the probation officers here do a great job trying to make sure these offenders are where they are and doing what they are supposed to be doing."
Guyden didn't last long under the bridge. In fact, it was only one day. Probation officers went to the Dunns Creek Bridge and Guyden wasn't there until four hours after his curfew began.
He is now back in prison.
Guyden's attorney believes the system failed his client by not giving him a fair chance at a fresh start.