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Sex offender ordinance catches family in legal tangle

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A Deltona sex offender was told he needed to move Monday after being found in violation of a May 2006 city ordinance, though he said the offense was urinating in public after drinking alcohol to celebrate his daughter's birth 21 years ago.

Matamoros Juan Matamoros was the first case brought by Deltona to court under the new sex offender law. Another sex offender the city claimed was in violation already agreed to move. The city has filed at least nine cases with the court, according to records obtained from the City Clerk.

Deltona's ordinance, stricter than those of the state and neighboring cities, prohibits sex offenders and sexual predators from living within 2,500 feet of a school, bus stop, day-care center, park or playground. Matamoros lives on Brady Drive near three city parks, including Dewey Boster Park and a child-care facility.

The 49-year-old took the stand before Volusia County Judge Peter Marshall in DeLand on Monday to say he never molested anyone back in 1986, but just got drunk and urinated at the side of a car along a Massachusetts street when three people passed by and saw him. He requested he not have to move his two young sons to an area with a concentrated number of sex offenders.

"If I had the opportunities to pick up and go, I would do so, but I have a family and I have bills," Matamoros said. "I'm raising two children the best I can."

The only information in the National Sex Registry states that Matamoros is guilty of two counts of open and gross lewd and lascivious behavior. Details of the original case in Essex, Mass., were not immediately available.

City Attorney Roland Blossom presented Deltona's case, requesting that Matamoros have reasonable time to move so his children aren't pulled out of school.

"This is not a case we feel good about having to prosecute," said Blossom, who did not ask for jail time or a fine. "However, it does put us in a situation that violates the ordinance."

Marshall agreed with Blossom, and ruled that Matamoros move no later than July 1. He also found him guilty without adjudication -- meaning his record does not contain a finding of guilt -- and imposed court costs.

Sex offenders and sexual predators who lived within 2,500 feet of the restricted areas before the new law was enacted are grandfathered in.

While 5-year-old Juan Matamoros Jr. sat crying in the courtroom asking if daddy was coming home, Matamoros Sr.'s wife, Laurie, was upset that her husband has been honest about the situation years ago and still gets no break.

"This case is so old they don't even have the right paperwork," she said. "If we had the money, he would be fine, but because we can't afford a lawyer, we're the ones that get screwed."

But Volusia County sheriff's Sgt. Erik Eagan said Matamoros isn't being entirely honest. He got the information about Deltona's new sex offender law when he registered in November and changed his address, and he violated felony probation for a drug violation.

"He's not the family man he says he is," Eagan said.

A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has challenged cases similar to Matamoros' in other states, said the organization is monitoring cases involving sexual predator and sex offenders under recently enacted laws around the country, but does not yet have plans to get involved in the Deltona cases.

sara.kiesler@news-jrnl.com

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