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Sexual offender to leave county

But a judge imposes tougher probation conditions on the man to restrict his conduct and movements.

By CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 15, 2002


But a judge imposes tougher probation conditions on the man to restrict his conduct and movements.

TAMPA -- Kevin Kinder, the convicted child molester who sparked a brief manhunt last week when authorities lost track of him, is leaving Hillsborough County -- on a tight leash.

Kinder, 29, admitted to a judge Tuesday that he violated his probation by failing to report to his probation officer for 48 hours.

His lawyer, assistant public defender John Skye, said Kinder's trouble stemmed from being "hounded" by vigilantelike protesters who got him kicked out of the Fowler Avenue motel where he had been staying.

Circuit Judge William Fuente let Kinder go free Tuesday, but under tougher conditions.

The judge gave the Department of Corrections the power to put Kinder on a Global Positioning monitor to track him. Kinder must avoid pornography, submit to regular polygraph tests and warrantless searches, and keep a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

Kinder cannot work at or live near a school. He must avoid people under 18 without supervision. Previously, his probation had required he avoid people under 16.

Kinder will move to Stuart to the Rapha House, a faith-based boarding house, and get sex-offender treatment.

Judy Cornett, a Tampa woman whose son was sexually assaulted by Kinder, and who has led protests against him, said she would go to Stuart to let Kinder's new neighbors know who he is.

"We'll follow him wherever he goes," Cornett said. "Every time he leaves, we're going to go and let the community know about it."

Prosecutor Mike Sinacore said the state took no position on whether Cornett and the protesters had gone too far in following Kinder from hotel to hotel.

"We don't encourage it, we don't discourage it, as long as she's not breaking any laws," he said.

Kinder has tried to get a court order to bar Cornett from following him.

"He needs to go ahead and pursue an injunction, because he's going to be haunted by her wherever she goes," said Michael Connell, a private Tampa attorney assisting Kinder.

Skye, his public defender, said Kinder is moving to Stuart because "it would perhaps give him a better opportunity to get on with his life."

Skye, his public defender, said, "It appears that some people have embarked on a vigilante-type crusade in an effort to ruin Mr. Kinder's life, or make it as difficult as possible, after he has served his debt to society."

Kinder pleaded guilty in 1992 to performing lewd and lascivious acts on four boys ages 11 to 14, but served only six years of a 17-year prison term because of prison crowding.

Instead of being immediately released, however, he was held for sex-offender treatment under the Jimmy Ryce Act after a jury found he was still a menace. But last year, eight doctors, including the state's, concluded Kinder had progressed enough in his treatment to go free. The Ryce Act is named for a 9-year-old Dade County boy murdered by a sex criminal in 1995.

Last Friday, the state attorney's office announced Kinder had disappeared. It turned out he was across the street in his lawyer's office, but authorities took him into custody for violating his probation.

-- Christopher Goffard can be reached at (813) 226-3337 or goffard@sptimes.com

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