Sex Offender Bill

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

Twenty-seven-year-old Charles Cannon spent only eight years of a 12-year prison sentence behind bars for sexual battery. Panama City police investigators say Cannon had found yet another victim just weeks after being released from state prison.

"We have one 15-year-old victim. The investigation is ongoing. There could be another victim," says Chief John Van Etten with Panama City police.

Police say Cannon met the 15-year-old Millville girl just steps from her home. She apparently called police after having sex with him on three different occasions.

Investigators say Cannon admitted having sex with the 15-year-old and says he knew her age.

A bill, passed in the Senate on Thursday, may have stopped Cannon from re-offending. The legislation named after Jessica Lunsford would slap sex offenders with longer prison sentences and require anyone who commits a sex offense after July 1 to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

"My message to sex offenders out there is, number one, we're not going to tolerate you anymore. I'm not going to cry. Maryland told me not to cry. We'll have zero tolerance. You'll get the death penalty or live the rest of your life in our prisons. The rest of you better start fleeing the state, because we're not going to put up with you anymore," says Sen. Nancy Argenziano.

The legislation soon to be on the governor's desk is not retroactive, but Chief Van Etten says it's a big step forward.

Charles Cannon is being charged with lewd and lascivious sexual battery. Chief Van Etten hopes the arrest will put him away for good.


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