ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando man repeatedly arrested for exposing himself and failing to register as a sex offender will be released from jail and placed in an assisted living facility, according to a court order signed on Monday.
Joseph Berry, 54, was originally arrested for performing a lewd act in the presence of a child in 1994.
He was found guilty, and as a result, he was ordered to register as a sex offender.
Court records show Berry did not register for at least 29 years, and he was arrested for similar charges over that time.
A News 6 investigation revealed he was arrested six times since 2015 for indecent exposure and lewd conduct.
According to court records, all six charges were dismissed after Berry was found not competent to stand trial.
Records show Berry was involuntarily committed to the state psychiatric hospital twice, and the staff has not been able to effectively treat him.
He is currently facing charges of failing to register as a sex offender.
In court on Monday, after one week of searching, prosecutors with the Office of the State Attorney told Judge Wayne Wooten they could not find another assisted living facility that would take Berry.
As a result, Wooten signed an order sending Berry to the Home Sweet Home assisted living facility in the Pine Hills area.
“We’re in a court of law,” Wooten said before issuing his ruling. “A court of law is a place where we apply the law as it is even if the law as it is leads to troubling outcomes.”
News 6 uncovered the assisted living facility Berry will be sent to is located inside a home in a residential neighborhood, just steps away from where children play.
Berry had been charged with exposing himself to young children in 2018, but those charges were dropped when he was found not competent to stand trial, according to court records.
“I do understand that the law is the law, but I want to say for the record as the mother of two victims, I never gave anyone permission to drop charges,” said Genesis Deshawn Browdy.
Browdy said she will be alerting neighbors in the area to Berry’s arrival in hopes of avoiding more trouble.
“We’re going to be going door-to-door, and we’re going to let people know that their families are not safe with this man in this community,” said neighborhood activist Cynthia Harris.
“I’m going to try to get these laws — if not changed — get clauses in the law that don’t protect someone who repeatedly wants to be violent towards people in the community,” she said. “We’re definitely going to get a clause added to that.”
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