Brevard County has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit involving the right of convicted sex offenders to attend County Commission meetings.
As part of the settlement, the county agreed to pay damages of $2,500 each to the plaintiffs ― sex offenders Charles Munsey Jr., Vincent Rinaldi and Charles Violi ― plus pay $150,000 for plaintiffs’ attorney fees.
The lawsuit filed in January 2022 in U.S. District Court was triggered by a 2006 Brevard County ordinance that, with some exceptions, prohibits people on the sex offender registry from being within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, park or playground. Violators are subject to up to 60 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.
Because the Brevard County Government Center in Viera is within 1,000 feet of a school — and the ordinance had no exceptions for attending public meetings — sex offenders were prohibited from attending County Commission meetings.
Legal action filed:3 Brevard County registered sex offenders file federal lawsuit against county
The lawsuit alleged that, because of this, the county violated the First Amendment and Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Law.
After the lawsuit was filed, the County Commission changed the rule to allow an exception for attending commission meetings. But the lawsuit continued, until the plaintiffs and the county agreed to the settlement.